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When is the best time of year to buy a home?

Listing prices are the same, sold prices are down

Hey homebuyers, looking for the right time to put in an offer on your dream property?

Well, you may be surprised to find the season that is the best time to buy a home. Why would one season in particular be considered a "hidden" opportunity to buy? 

Because, during this "hidden" time listing prices — those are the prices available on online real estate services such as Zillow and Move — don’t change. But, the amount of money properties sell for actually decreases significantly, according to an article by Emily Starbuck Crone and Daniel Tonkovich for NerdWallet

This means that during this time, autumn, home buyers are more successful when negotiating the price lower.

Here's the data:

During autumn, NerdWallet finds listings only decrease about half a percent at the most, sold prices drop 2.96% on average from summer to fall, the article states. This is a decrease of $8,300 for a median home.

On the other hand, summer is the most expensive time to buy a home with home prices reaching their peak in June and July, according to the article.

Click to Enlarge

home price

(Source: NerdWallet)

In order to determine the most affordable time to buy, NerdWallet analyzed the past two years of listings and sales in the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas using data from Realtor.com.

“If your circumstances give you the freedom to be able to choose the best time to look to sign a contract on a new home, there’s no question that the market dynamics favor you the most to do that in the dead of winter, ideally in January or February, right before the activity starts to heat up,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said.

Home prices continue to decrease into the winter months. Home prices decrease an average of 8.45% from summer to winter, reaching their low in January or February.

From the article:

There are even fewer buyers in the fall. And because there’s less competition among buyers, inventory stays on the market longer, leading prices lower, Smoke explains.

Similar dynamics are at play in winter, when the number of homes on the market is the lowest, and there are even fewer buyers. “You have 50 to 60% more inventory relative to the number of buyers, so there’s basically more options per buyer, and that translates into less competition,” Smoke says.

Click to Enlarge

home price

(Source: NerdWallet)

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