The housing market here in the United States has been moving at a blistering pace for a while now. On the whole, home prices increased more than 33% from February 2020 to June 2022.
What’s even better news is that It’s expected that the housing market will continue to climb in the future — albeit a little more slowly now — due to the changes that were made in the lending market coming out of the mortgage debacle in 2008.
Plus, even though the economy is showing some signs of slowing down, the job market is good. As well, even though home prices have come down a bit in the last six months, they have settled, as have interest rates.
All of this said, there’s always that lingering question: “Should I buy a home now or wait a few months to purchase a home?”
The answer is that different times of the year offer different opportunities, but there’s really never a “bad” time of the year to buy a home.
Based on a variety of data compiled from multiple sites online like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors, etcHere's a look at the different months of the year and what the real estate market looks like in each season.
How the Months of the Year Stack Up for Buying a Home
Experts agree that price is the main determinant for buying a home. To that end, this chart uses price as the barometer as which month of the year is the best in which to buy a home.
Here’s what home buying looks like for each month of the year. As you read closely, you’ll see that some of the hard data is contrary to conventional wisdom.
Source: ATTOM DATA
Shockingly, January is one of the best months in which to buy a home.
The median sales price of homes during this time of the year is at the lowest point. As well, houses that close during January have often been on the market for over three months on average. To that end, the longer a home stays on the market, the lower the price the home will likely sell for.
It stands to reason then that home buyers who buy in January will be able to negotiate price more effectively since the home has been on the market for a longer time frame, giving them a chance to get a better deal.
What’s also crazy, but makes complete sense, is that June is the worst month to buy a home.
The transition between spring and summer is the worst time to buy a home. This is the case for the opposite reason to what’s happening in January.
Shorter time on market and higher median sales price at this time of the year means that buyers can and will have a tougher time negotiating a solid price for themselves when buying a home. It doesn’t mean you won’t get a good deal, it just means that there’s often less room to negotiate a better price for yourself when the market is on the upswing.
Consider these factors as well
Getting a good price is always a top consideration for home buyers, even for those who are willing to lay out a bit more of their hard-earned cash for their dream home.
But for most buyers, selection is also key. Available inventory gives buyers the opportunity they want and need to find the best absolute home for their budget, even if they’re willing to go a little over their budget in the end.
Spring months, historically, provide buyers with the largest inventory from which to choose. Home buyers with a large selection from which to choose have a better chance of finding their dream home in July when new listings are at their peak, and the total number of 1.31 million homes hits the market, a close second only to July and September.
Ideally, there’s a literally no shortage of options in the month of May.
Conversely, the selection dwindles dramatically as the end of the year approaches. January is the month when most homes have already been sold.
Total inventory drops to its lowest at .85 million homes and the number of new listings hitting the market is also at the lowest point of the year.
Finding a home during December is completely possible, but it might take a little more searching on your part.
So when is the best time to buy a home?
The ideal absolute best time to buy a home is from the end of the Summer through the early fall.
It is during these months when plenty of selection is available to choose from and you still have the opportunity to snag a good deal.
June is the toughest time to shop for a home. Listings are plentiful compared to spring months, prices are off the charts, and competition is significantly higher.
January presents an amazing time to find a great deal, despite the fact that the number of homes is lower at this time of the year.
That said, you can always get access to the widest selection of homes available with great deals at any time of the year if you have the right agent and technology available.