What’s the best time of year to buy a house?
Homeownership is one of the most important moments in a person’s life, whether you’re a first-time buyer or simply upgrading your lifestyle. And it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Many factors can affect the cost of the property, including its size, location and market conditions.
As you start the home-buying process, you might be surprised to learn there’s another factor that could impact the price of your purchase: the time of year. Depending on when you’re in the market for a new home, this timing could affect not only the cost but also the selection of homes available to you.
This article will discuss the best time of year to buy a home and how home prices are affected by it.
How does the time of year affect home prices?
Housing supply and demand — essentially, home prices — vary based on the season. If you buy your home at the right time of year, you could save as much as 10%.
Generally, the market in most areas starts to slow down as the weather cools, meaning you’ll likely find yourself a deal. In New York and other northern states, the housing market tends to slow down in late summer or early fall, when people expect to be settled for the school year, work and the holiday season.
This seasonality varies by location, though. In places known for warmer weather, like Florida and Arizona, snowbirds are busy buying homes in the winter months that are typically slower elsewhere in the country.
It’s important to understand the market you’re moving to and how the seasons can affect it.
The best time of year to buy a house
Whether your biggest concern is housing inventory, mortgage rates or home prices, you’ll find that each of these important variables has its own ideal time of year.
Best months to buy a house for the best prices
If the cost of your home purchase is your biggest concern during the process, you’ll probably find your best deals around November. It’s a great time of year when it comes to real estate prices and when you’re most likely to snag yourself a deal.
At that point, there will be fewer buyers, and sellers are likely to drop their list price. In many areas, most people start looking in the spring and want to settle in their new home by the end of summer. So, there’s less competition for scooping up real estate. If you’re on a budget, this is a great time of year to be house hunting.
But be sure to research the norms for your area. Using Florida as an example again, many homebuyers will start their search in November and December so they can move in by January. In fact, homes sell fast in November in Florida, typically selling four days faster than the national average.
Best months to buy a house for the biggest selection
If you want to have a plethora of homes to choose from, then you’ll want to be house hunting during a different time of year. By November, most local markets will have limited offerings.
In many real estate markets, spring and early summer are when you’ll find the most homes listed, meaning you’ll have the most selections and the best opportunity to find a house you’ll truly fall in love with.
Of course, you’ll find higher prices compared to other times of the year — especially compared to the fall — and there will be more people house hunting at the same time as you. So, homes might be sold quickly, and you’ll have to act fast if you find your dream home, one you can see yourself building a life in.
This time of year is typically a seller’s market. In some cases, you might even find yourself in a bidding war with other homebuyers. To stay competitive, consider putting down a larger down payment, improving your credit score, getting pre-approved for a home loan and even making a cash offer if you can.
Best months to buy a house overall
If you’re trying to find a sweet spot for market conditions, where you’ll have a good selection but also lower home prices, then you’ll want to buy in August.
At this time of year, inventory will start to fall from its peak in many places. While you’ll still find a lot to choose from, you’ll see the market starting to slow and prices starting to drop at the same time.
In many places, school starts in early August, or children are preparing for the new school year. Many families want to be settled in their new homes at this point. So, overall, August is the best month for house hunting, and you could find an amazing deal after reviewing your options.
Worst times of the year to buy a home
You might be surprised to learn that May is one of the worst times of the year to buy a home. Many early spring buyers have already picked over the early flurry of warm-weather listings and are working with mortgage lenders, inspectors and other professionals to close on these sales. The month also ends with a federal holiday, Memorial Day, which can sometimes cause hiccups for both sellers and buyers.
On top of all this, in many states, families are wrapping up the end of the school year in May and are busy preparing for tests, graduations and other end-of-the-year activities. Most parents won’t want to relocate their children until these milestones have been completed.
January can be another slow month for real estate sales. While you might find a home at a steal, you’ll find way less inventory on the market to choose from. Home sales drop significantly in the off-season — sometimes as much as 68%.
Other factors to consider when buying a home
While the time of year when you’re shopping for a home could impact how much you spend, there’s more to consider when making such a big purchase.
There are numerous factors that can affect the selection and price as you move through the homebuying process — the home’s location, its size, interest rates set by the Federal Reserve, the condition and age of a home, and what kind of future expenses, including major repairs, you can expect.
Consider every factor as you make this life-altering decision to become a homeowner. It can mean not only saving some money but also preventing headaches down the road. So, don’t make any rash decisions and look closely at everything that could affect your purchase.
Even when you do your own research, you should still work with a licensed real estate agent who can answer all your questions and provide the resources you need to make the best decisions. A Realtor can walk you through the process and explain how home sales are affected by these various factors. Also, attend as many open houses as you can to see homes in person.
Consider a home warranty for your new home
A home is a big investment. When making that purchase, a home warranty is a useful tool to protect you from any surprise expenses that might pop up, especially if you’re buying an older home or one in need of a little TLC.
Fortunately, Cinch Home Services offers several affordable home protection plans that can suit your needs and budget. Whether you’re interested in the Appliances plan, the Built-in Systems plan or the Complete Home plan, get the coverage you need and focus less on unexpected breakdowns and more on enjoying your new home.
Request a free quote from Cinch today to get started.