You’ve probably heard that spring and summer are the best seasons for home buying. After all, there’s more inventory on the market, and the warm weather is ideal for showings. But does the time of the year actually matter when buying homes? The short answer is Yes and No. Seasonality tends to affect factors such as inventory (the number of homes for sale) and purchase price. During spring, inventory is plentiful, but competition among buyers may cause prices to rise. By contrast, home prices may be lower during winter, but inventory is usually limited – and moving in may be more difficult, depending on the weather.
However, the ongoing global health crisis has shattered the idea of the “peak home buying season” and left many potential buyers wondering if now is still the right time to make a move.
The Merits (and Downsides) of Buying a Home During Each Season
Most real estate markets fluctuate from month to month, as do prices and inventory. Before you decide when to buy, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each season and ask a local agent about trends in your area. Here are a few benefits of buying during every season…as well as a few drawbacks.
Spring: Gorgeous homes, but higher prices
Traditionally, spring is one of the hottest seasons for home buying, and it’s easy to see why. As temperatures thaw out in March, April, and May, the number of new listings seems to multiply every day. Homes also tend to look their best during spring—after all, who doesn’t love blossoming flowers or lush landscaping after a long winter? Choices abound, but so does your competition. You may even find yourself in a bidding war.
Although you’ll have more inventory to choose from during these warmer months, you won’t be the only one searching for a home. Spring buyers usually have to face more competition, which can result in inflated prices and bidding wars. If you’re getting ready to buy during spring, be prepared to make a quick offer and don’t expect many concessions from sellers.
Summer: Lots of listings, but more competition
Summer is another extremely popular home buying season, especially for households with children. Many sellers also decide to list during June, July, or August, which means you’ll benefit from an even broader selection of houses. To top it all off, you can even schedule evening showings as the days get longer.
Unfortunately, summer home buying often comes with problems similar to spring: tons of buyers, higher prices, more bidding wars, and less time to make a decision. And if you wait until July or August, you could actually see a dip in inventory as sellers go on vacation!
Fall: Motivated sellers, but inventory could dwindle
There’s so much to love about autumn: the falling leaves, the cooler temperatures…and the fantastic home prices. Fall is easily one of the most underrated times to buy a house, since you can take advantage of strong inventory, less competition, and lower prices. Many sellers will also be more motivated to make a deal, particularly if they weren’t able to attract buyers during the summer.
As you plan your autumnal move, it’s crucial to time it just right. It’s not uncommon to see a slight dip in inventory at the beginning of a new school year, which is usually around late August or early September. If you wait until late October or November, sellers might also start pulling their homes from the market due to the impending holidays.
Winter: Less competition, but fewer choices
Historically, winter is the slowest season for real estate—but that shouldn’t deter you from starting your home search in December, January, or February. The most obvious benefit of winter buying is decreased competition, which often leads to some of the lowest prices of the year. Real estate agents will also have fewer clients during the colder months, so they can spend much more time helping you.
Of course, buying in the middle of winter also comes with some challenges. It can be difficult to plan a closing around everyone’s schedules during the busy holiday season. Diminished inventory also means there are fewer listings to choose from, so your search may take a bit longer than expected.
Need Help Planning Your Move?
Whether you choose to move in spring, summer, fall, or winter, you can trust us to help you navigate every aspect of the buying process! Just give us a call today to learn more about our home buying resources, and let us know when you’re ready to take your next steps.