Is There a Best Time of Year to Buy & Sell Homes?

There are incorrect perceptions about the impact seasons have on the marketplace.

Inaccurate notions about trends are true of laymen as well as pros in the real estate industry. Most people think the best time to put homes on the market is in “the spring”. Their interpretation of “spring” is actually late spring, April, May June. It’s true that a property’s curb appeal will show best in our front-range and foothills climate during late spring through mid-September. And for that reason, the trend is to place homes on the market during that period. Nonetheless, it’s an incorrect assumption. A glut negatively impacts prices for sellers but provides richer pickings for buyers.

Different buyer profiles have the urge to look and buy at varying times of the year. Not all ages of people or all lifestyle groups, such as families, singles, empty-nesters or no-nesters, generations X or Y, get the urge or have motivation all at the same time. Consequently, people buy what’s on the market at the time they have the urge or necessity. Condos and townhomes will sell at different times of the year than single-family homes. Patio homes will sell at a different time of year than single-family homes.

Another consideration is the need to dissect or backtrack the stats you hear and read about each month and each quarter. Closings have a 45 to 90 day lag time after contract writing in re-sales; and 30 to 180 days or more after contract writing in new homes. Then, the actual recording of the deed and property transfer may occur in 1 to 4 weeks post closing. So, the source of the information becomes relevant. Is the Source MLS, County Recorder, the National Association of Realtors or the National Association of Home Builders?

People who enter into an agreement to buy a re-sale or a new home excitedly tell their families and friends “…We/I just bought a home…” When, in fact, they only committed to do so and the closing is sometime in the reportable future. However, for the purpose of understanding the concepts in this article, what’s really important is the intention and time of year or season when the buyer went into motion. That’s when you want your offering on the market.

For single-family homes, the best time of year to put a re-sale home on the market is late January through April. The best time of year to put a condo or townhome on the market is end August through December. The best single-family buys are late summer through December. The best condo/townhome buys are December through mid-March. Many singles or soon-to-be-singles of all ages buy around the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holidays and immediately following these holidays. Their purchase is sometimes the consequence of what they’ve mulled over for months but oftentimes spontaneous to ward off depression, lifestyle status change, resolution fulfillment, or investment hedge mode. Families often look at inventory to buy in the spring with hopes of moving in the summer, but their plans can be waylaid depending upon how long it takes to sell their current home to recoup their equity for an upgrade. Downsizing of empty-nesters occurs in late August through early November and again in January through early April.