Seasonal Secrets to the Housing Market
Posted On: Oct 21, 2016
Seasonality can have a significant impact on the real estate market, including home prices, housing inventory, and prospective buyers in the market.
Which season should you buy? Which is the best to sell?
Here’s an overview of each season, and how each generally affects the real estate market.
In general, the average home price tends to decline from October to March, which translates to savings for buyers. The weather is on the decline, meaning people are less likely to jump from home to home in search of the perfect property. The kids going back to school also has an impact, as most parents aren’t interested in moving their child or children to a new district mid-year.
However, those home shopping (or selling) in the fall tend to be motivated; they want to get it done before the winter sets in.
Ah, winter. As you may imagine, the market tends to slow down in the colder months. There are fewer homes for sale, and sellers are usually more willing to negotiate on price. Winter also tends to be a good time to check out a home for possible repairs. When it’s cold, you’ll have a better idea of how well the house is heated and insulated, whether the roof leaks, and whether pipes freeze. You’ll also have a good idea of how difficult the driveway is to traverse in rough weather.
On the flip side, the landscape is likely barren, so you won’t get to witness the beauty (or lack thereof) vegetation like trees, grass, flowers, and shrubs can bring to a property in the spring. So keep in mind that there may be landscaping repairs needed that could even out the savings you may find by shopping in the winter.
All in all, it’s a great time for singles or couples without children to get out and shop, although the inventory is thinner than in other seasons.
Spring may very well be the busiest time in real estate, with the market picking up as early as January and getting up to speed by the time spring rolls around. Opportunities and great deals you find during the winter months will start to fade away.
Just like everything else, activity picks right back up once the weather gets better, as buyers purchase in the spring, move in during the summer, and are all settled in by the time school starts in the fall. The financial drain of the holiday season is a ways away, and those tax refund checks are starting to show up just in time to go towards a down payment.
Buyers will benefit from a wider variety of homes available, while sellers are faced with more competition. It’s certainly an important time to stand out as a buyer; be sure to check out some of our past blogs for tips, such as 4 Easy Fixes Before Listing Your Home for Sale and What Adds to My Home’s Appraised Value?
The housing inventory is robust, so buyers have lots of options. Conversely, sellers are aware that it’s a competitive time of year, and may keep the price high because of those potential buyers out there. So if you aren’t in a rush, sometimes it can’t hurt to wait until mid-summer, when the spring fanfare has died down a bit.
Don’t let that make you lazy though, sellers; buyers in the summer also tend to do more looking than buying. You’ll need to keep your pricing and appearance competitive to convert lookers into buyers.
So, what season is the best to buy and sell? As you may have guessed, there are plenty of variables to consider. One thing that doesn’t change, however, is the importance of a professional property appraisal of the property you’re selling, or considering for purchase. It’s a smart way to make sure you’re getting the best value on either side of the transaction.