Is Winter The Best Time To Buy Real Estate?

Stellar Exterior Dusk
One question we get asked all the time by prospective buyers is, “how motivated are the sellers?” Buyers want to find a property where the sellers have become desperate to sell. By examining a few consistent real estate trends in Tahoe, it seems the best time to find a motivated seller and a great deal is during the winter.

1. Total number of homes for sale peaks in the summer and bottoms each winter.

2. Total sales volume follows the same trend, peaking in the summer and bottoming in the winter.

3. Total days on the market follows the opposite trend, peaking in the winter and bottoming during the summer.

Diving deeper into these trends could lead you to the conclusion that the winter is the best time to find a great deal. Sellers that stay on the market through the winter months where transactions are less frequent and buyers are less plentiful seem to have a greater commitment to selling. With less buying activity, these sellers see fewer offers than summer-time sellers and might be more willing to accept a lower price in order to get their property sold.

Less motivated sellers have the luxury of waiting until the Spring to put their homes on the market, and many times take their homes off the market for the winter months if it didn’t sell the prior season. Sellers with this luxury of waiting are certainly not the desperate kind buyers are looking for.

Recent research by RealtyTrac supports this conclusion. Based on 32 million home and condo sales over the last 15 years, 3 of the top 5 months for a discounted purchase price were December, January and February. October barely nudged out February as the best month to buy, and April came in as the worst month to buy, showing that buyers paid the biggest premium in April.

This makes sense given our interpretation of the numbers as well as what we see regarding the tendencies of sellers. As a buyer, you probably have a few less homes to choose from this time of year, but you also have less competition from other buyers. So, if there is a home or condo for sale that you think could be the one you’ve been looking for, now might just be the best time to buy.

Please get in touch if we can help in any way.


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