Is there a best time to buy and sell a home?

seasonal-patterns

Generally, housing activity picks up in the early spring and peaks around the start of school in the fall. The housing market works like any other marketplace based on supply and demand.  The chart below shows housing activity by month for 2016 and 2017. Looking back to 1990, this same pattern persists. Click on the bar of any month to see the housing statistics for that month. Note these statistics are based on closed transactions and most contract signings occur around thirty days previous. 

Source: Texas A&M Real Estate Center (https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/housing-activity 2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA)

During the summer, the market usually slows a little bit as we get closer to the start of school. After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second fall round, although less vigorous, which usually lasts to Thanksgiving. Between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Year is the slowest time of year. Keep in mind the biggest driving force behind home demand is jobs and interest rates. People change jobs all year round and changes in interest rates impact housing activity and is not seasonal. Weather is a short term influence and may account for some deviations in the pattern. 

Sellers often wonder if they should take their home off the market during the holidays. Generally speaking, you’ll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells. Even in slower periods, there are still buyers in the marketplace, but now those buyers have fewer homes to choose from which is to your advantage. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. 

Buyers have the most purchasing power as the market transitions from the summer to the fall. At that time sellers tend to panic and reduce offer price believing their home might not sell and they might have to take it off the market and try again next year.  Looking at the average and median price change for each month you can see how prices drop in the fall and pick up in the spring. Buyer competition grows from January through the middle of the summer when contract executions are at their peak. 

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