You’ve been saving to buy your first home. But timing is important if you want to find the best value for your budget. Certain times of the year are often better for buyers than sellers. Prices tend to drop during these periods, and that can mean sizable savings.
It’s best to research price trends thoroughly before starting to look for a home. Find out when’s the best time to buy a house with the information below.
The best time to buy a house is usually autumn and winter
Autumn and winter are generally the best seasons to buy a house across all regions in the US. As the holiday season picks up, buyers and sellers are making plans and celebrating with family. In areas affected by the cold weather, this trend maybe more pronounced. As a result, people who are in the market to purchase homes are focused on other things, so there’s often less competition at this time of year.
Prices may also be lower in winter. In January and February, houses typically cost 8.45% less than they do in June and August, according to a study from NerdWallet. Sellers are often encouraged to wait until spring to list their homes, and those who keep their properties on the market through fall and winter may be more willing to negotiate a deal.
Conduct your own local research
It’s important to remember that real estate markets vary, so the best time to buy a home in your area may differ from overall national trends. It’s best to ask local realtors to determine if your target market fits general patterns or if there’s something unusual about it.
For example, if you live in Southern California, where temperatures remain mild for much of the year, home prices may not vary much seasonably. Or if you’re in a place where people vacation during the winter, housing prices might rise right before the busy season.
Prices may also vary by circumstance. If demand is weak because an area has been hard-hit by an economic downturn or developers have been overbuilding new houses, home prices may fall. These drops may not dovetail with the normal seasonal trends for that region.
The reverse may be true, too. A neighborhood that’s becoming more desirable can fetch higher prices.
Research pricing trends
Home buying requires work and that includes developing a sound understanding of pricing trends. Such information can increase the likelihood that you find the right house at an affordable price. Visit real estate websites to look at a variety of trend statistics to get a feel for the market in the area where you’re thinking of purchasing.
The sale-to-list-price ratio, for example, is a percentage that indicates if homes are selling at, below or above their listing prices. If the number is above 100%, homes are selling above their listing prices, and vice versa. Median list and sale prices indicate the average value of home prices in a particular area, which can help you discern if homes tend to sell within your budget range. Many sites generate these numbers monthly or even weekly, so it’s easy to keep an eye on the trends.