April 9th, 2018 By Chris Thompson in Blog
This is a loaded question to ask a real estate agent. You may expect the default answer to be “now,” but some agents are bigger fans of transparency than others. The truth is there are many factors that affect home prices – geographic location, neighborhood, national and local trends, population changes and, of course, the home itself. There is, however, significant data regarding pricing and sale volume available for analysis. The numbers don’t lie, although it’s always a good idea to be cautious in your interpretation. Ask our team this question and we’ll tell you “when you’re ready.”
Best and Worst Months to Buy a Home by the Numbers
Fitsmallbusiness.com went through the effort of compiling housing data sourced from Zillow, the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve. They discovered the lowest median sale price, $254,914, was found in January and the highest, $307,571, in June.
This is more or less in line with commonly held assumptions made by many people in the real estate and moving industries. Spring and fall are among the most popular seasons for moving, so it’s not a big surprise they are also among the most popular time for home buying.
Also, consider your schedule during the holidays. Most people have too many events going on in their lives in the last couple months of the year to even consider adding home shopping to their to-do list. Oftentimes, the most highly motivated buyers and sellers are in the market during this time of year.
Real estate professionals may also tell you there are certain seller conditions that are more common during these months of the year. Sellers are just as busy as homebuyers during this time, and if someone is going through the effort of showing their home during the holiday season chances are they are in a hurry to sell. This could potentially mean sellers will be more flexible on price, terms and closing schedules than a seller who has the ability to wait for a season when showing their home and jumping through all the hoops required to sell a home would be easier to manage.
Median sale price isn’t the only important number when it comes to buying a home – time on market prior to closing is another loaded number that carries significant implications. In 2017, the median number of days on market for homes selling in January was 104. That median number dropped to 67 in June and our team guarantees to sell your home in 29 days or less.
When homes are selling more quickly, that implies there are more shoppers putting in more offers. If you know the seller of a home you really want has other serious offers, you’re more likely to accept a higher price rather than negotiate because the seller can just choose to accept an offer from a buyer willing to pay what they’re asking. Although having a home on the market for 104 days isn’t great for the seller, from a buyer’s perspective, you have far less competition and have more time to haggle, giving you, the buyer, the upper hand in negotiations. You’re also likely to be working with a home seller who is getting more desperate to sell.
Some Other Factors to Consider
Children are in school during the months with the lowest median prices and out of school during the months with the highest median prices and fewest days on market. Moving in the middle of the school year can be a logistical nightmare for families, so if you’re a home shopper who doesn’t have children, you can use this to your advantage when choosing when to buy.
Weather is another seasonal factor that plays a significant role in home buying trends. Driving around Maryland shopping for homes in the snow is an arduous experience. Actually moving your belongings to a new home when there’s a foot of snow on the ground is even worse. If you can stomach the inconvenience, you may be able to get a better deal by home shopping during these months.
Number of Listings
Typically, the months with the newest listings are April and May, which makes sense as the holidays are long past and the snow has hopefully melted, meaning house shoppers will soon be out in force. The month with the highest inventory is August, which is just a couple months past June, the month of peak activity and median prices.
Interestingly, the month with the lowest percentage of homes selling above the list price is November. Only 15 percent of homes sell above the list price during November, barely beating out December’s 15 percent and October’s 17 percent. January, the month with the lowest median closing price is at 23 percent, which isn’t all that far off from June at 24 percent.
Are You in the Market to Buy a Home in Maryland?
The Rick & Chris Thompson Team of real estate experts are dedicated to helping home buyers and home sellers have a successful real estate experience. We truly believe in educating clients and providing exceptional transparency and customer service along the way. There’s a reason 80 percent of our business comes from referrals – our clients appreciate our approach and results.
Get started with your Maryland home buying or home selling journey. Contact us online or call 301-758-2679 today.