When is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Home?

When is the best time to buy a home? The data points to winter

What Time of Year is a Good Time to Buy a Home?

One question I hear consistently from clients and acquaintances is, “When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?”

Well the fact of the matter is that deciding when to buy has more to do with your own personal situation than it does with the time of the year. But like all types of sales there is a cycle and there is a season that favors buyers over sellers. However, the most favorable season for buyers is also the most difficult season to buy during. Have you figured it out yet? You may have already guessed Winter (based on the main graphic) and if so, you’re correct.

Cold Weather Slows the Housing Market

Winter in California might not be as bad as many (most) states but it is still cold (relatively speaking), rainy, and kicked off by the most demanding travel holidays of the year. There are less homes for sale in Winter because it is difficult to sell your home when you’re planning holiday trips, purchasing gifts, or giving back to your community. There are also less buyers on the market because people are simply less motivated to go out and shop for a home in dreary weather or while recuperating from the holidays. I know I’d rather be cozy inside than driving around in the wind and rain and holiday traffic.

Winter puts a chill on the housing market but Spring heats it right back up again

Because of these factors homes sales slow during these months and price increases tend to slow even more. This can be seen in the yearly cycle of month-to-month housing price increases. Every year price increases rise during the warm Spring and Summer months before slowing and sometimes reversing slightly in the Winter months. Click the infographic or view the full version below for a more detailed look at this seasonal trend.

If you’re in situation where you don’t have a rapidly approaching deadline to purchase, the Winter months can be a great time to buy. It may be a little more difficult to find your dream home because of the reduced inventory of homes but when you do find your new home you’re likely to have significantly less competition and, in turn, greater leverage when negotiating.

I just recently helped a client purchase a condo in Toluca Lake, CA. Initially listed at $439k, two weeks in, the Seller, motivated by a new purchase in Marin County, decided to drop the price to $424k. Based on the comparisons I found I knew they could get that price but as November approached the market was already slowing and they’d probably have to wait for a full price offer. We came in at $420k  and asked for some closing cost concessions from the seller. The offer was accepted and we closed just after Thanksgiving. Had the condo been listed in March of 2014 it may well have garnered the initial $439 asking price but my client got a great deal because we had no competition.

Get Pre-Qualified Now So You’re Ready to Buy

If you are considering buying during the Winter season then it’s time to get Pre-Qualified with a lender. There’s no obligation, no cost, and it is crucial to determining what you can accomplish now or what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Housing prices will be heating up with the weather before you know it, get started today.

We hope you enjoy our Infographic, "2015 Winter Housing Prices and Spring Growth" If you have any questions or would like to talk about any of this information we're available to chat. Call or Email us Today!

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Winter puts a chill on the housing market but Spring heats it right back up again

John LaRosa, PHA Realty Director of Marketing

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