Many products have seasonal prices, and this can be true of homes as well. Some studies have suggested that buying a home later in the year can potentially save you thousands on your purchase, though there are some tradeoffs to consider. While there are no guarantees in the world of real estate markets, here are some general seasonal rules on home shopping.
Summer: high prices and high selection
With warm weather, schools out and many home rental leases ending, summer is the most convenient time for many to buy or sell a home. Because of this, there are often numerous options on the market but also lots of buyers. This drives up prices, which often peak in June and July. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find home or just want to avoid the hassles of buying during the other seasons, paying a summer premium may be necessary.
Winter: rock bottom prices
Cold weather and the holidays make winter a less-than-ideal home shopping time for many. Accordingly, sellers are often willing to reward the few buyers who brave the winter market with some of the best deals of the year. Prices have been found to drop as low as 8 percent during the dead of winter compared to summer’s peak. The selection of homes on the market is likely to be limited at this time of year, however.
Spring and fall: middle of the road
Spring and fall are the housing market’s shoulder seasons. With the holidays past and the weather warming in the spring, buyers and sellers flood back into the market, and prices rise toward their summer peak. As temperatures and market activity cool in the fall and school resumes, prices begin to dip toward their winter lows.
While these trends have been found to be generally true for many major metro areas in the U.S., you should always consult a local real estate expert for specific advice in your market. Seasonal differences in prices may be very pronounced in your area or barely noticeable. If you’re searching for a unique home or if prices are on the rise, holding out for seasonal savings may not be the best strategy.