Does 'home-buying season' still exist as a real estate market trend?
Do real estate market trends still exist in terms of the best time of year to buy a home?
The answers to that question are multiple, but indications are that there simply is no house-buying season any longer.
Historically, real estate market trends said the time to get the best price on a house has been late summer and late winter, when the market has sold off all of its high-priced stock of homes and sellers are more desperate to get their property off of the market. But that trend is slipping away as home-buying becomes a year-long pursuit.
The factors that determine the best time to buy a home go beyond time of year. For instance, the economy can fluctuate at any time, and when the economic turns sour, housing costs drop and buyers can get more value for their dollar.
Similarly, many areas have drops in employment in the late summer months as temporary jobs end and manufacturing bases retool for new models. The time of year matters less than the reason the homes are on the marketplace, and have less effect on price.
Traditionally, late spring and early summer has been the hottest time for home sales, and winter has been a slow period, because weather can affect the appearance of the home and the outlook of the buyer. But if a homeowner is trying to sell in the winter, it is likely because he is motivated to sell. The problem for a buyer in the winter remains that selection is usually low.
The reason late spring and early summer has traditionally been the time to buy a home is that home sellers want to take advantage of the nice weather, the end of school allows for more time to sell, and homebuyers sometimes have large tax returns to apply to down payments.
But because of an increase of empty-nesters selling and childless couples buying, late summer and early fall have seen increases in both supply and demand.
“We’ve observed in seasonal household buyer patterns that there is a higher ratio of first-time buyers and childless couples in the fall,’’ said Walter Molony, economic issues media manager at the National Association of Realtors. “Families with children time their purchase based on school-year considerations, so they peak in the spring and the summer.”
Many realtors, however, have refused to let time of year douse sales, and are pitching the idea that being a contrarian pays off because sellers have fewer buyers to work with and are more willing to accept first-time offers.
Labor Day to Thanksgiving is appealing to both buyers and sellers because both want to get a deal done before winter hits. Then again, sales can be great in the months between Thanksgiving and Christmas to avoid a holiday panic of preparation for showing the property.
“I’ve done my best negotiating from October to December,’’ real estate agent and web consultant Jim Crawford of Roswell, Ga. told Bankrate.com.
Getting past the holidays, January has become a boom time for sales. Molony said January has seen record or near-record sales for the month in the last few years.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.