Ask the general public when the “best” time to buy or sell a house would be, and the general answer is “spring or summer”. Why is that, and is it in fact true?
Many people believe that the second and third quarters of the year are when buyers and sellers flood the market in droves, and that logic then dictates that the most opportune time to list a house is when the exposure to the most buyers is greatest; hence the reason so many people wait until March or April to get into the market as either a buyer, a seller or both.
However, recent statistics prove this widely-believed theory incorrect.
According to the 2013 numbers for my office (link above), sellers received the most showings on their homes in January and the most showing traffic occurred during the first five months of the year. By June, the average number of showings per month had dropped by approximately 20%, and showing volume decreased steadily after that for the remainder of the year.
In all likelihood these numbers directly correlate to last year’s inventory shortage, rash of multiple-offer situations, and the many frustrated buyers who may have left the market after losing out on property after property earlier in the year; it will be interesting to see what 2014 numbers illustrate to know if this activity is a trend or an anomaly.
The takeaway for sellers is this: if you’re looking to move, do so when the time is best for you, and don’t discount Q1 as an inopportune time to sell. There are always buyers buying and sellers selling – at all times throughout the year – and regardless of when you sell, you must price your house correctly for the market. However, that’s another topic for another day.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the statistics or the market in general. And, as always, if you know of someone looking to get into the market, please let me know. It would be my pleasure to help them if I can!