When is the “best” time to buy a home? The “worst” time? Is there even such a thing? We chatted with four of our real estate agents to break down common myths about the best and worst times to buy a house, and found out what advice they’d give to prospective buyers in today’s Capital Region real estate market.
How is the housing market different in the winter compared to warmer months?
“Winter can be slower, but deals are still getting done,” Resale Specialist Scott Roberts says.
“There will be fewer new listings,” according to New Construction Specialist Robert Gallup. “The springtime often has the highest number of buyers in a market, but also the most new listings.”
“There is typically more inventory that comes in with the spring market,” Resale Specialist Katharine Pelletier agrees, “and more activity with buyers wanting to move in the summer, and be in the house prior to the next school year with school-aged children.”
However! Don’t discount the colder months. Pelletier adds: “It is typically less competitive in the fall and winter months. If you find the right house during this time, you’ll probably get a better ‘deal’ with better terms, compared to the likes of the competitive spring market.”
What about house-buying during the holiday season, and the beginning of the New Year?
Although the holiday season is typically slower in conjunction with winter, this can be a prime time to snag the right house for you. And after the New Year, possibly even moreso.
“The buyers and sellers that are out [during the holiday season] are typically serious and motivated, which leads to a more balanced transaction, which is great for both parties,” Pelletier says.
“I think it’s important to mention there are many beliefs that shortly after the New Year many more listings become available and buyers are willing to pay more for a home,” New Construction Specialist Christa Rivers says. “Historically, many families want to get through the holidays and look to make improvements or changes to their lives shortly after the beginning of the New Year. Therefore, increased listings, increased buyers, and rock bottom interest rates continue to keep this a strong market.”
How is buying a house different today from five years ago, in terms of timing?
When it comes to the timing of buying a house, the process moves significantly faster today than just a few short years ago. Although you don’t want to be pressured into buying before you’re ready, you do want to position yourself to move confidently – and quickly – when the right house comes along.
“A much higher percentage of homes are going to multiple offers, and also selling quicker, so it is more of a competitive market,” Gallup says.
“Most homes that are priced properly are selling within the first several days on the market,” Rivers adds. “If you see something you like and want to have, go for it at that moment.”
“You may need to make a quick decision,” Roberts confirms. “Also, be prepared to miss a couple places you really liked due to other buyers. It’s more of a speed dating market, so roll with the punches, but still try to have fun as you try to find the perfect home.”
And what can we look forward to with the housing market in 2022?
“We may actually see interest rates rise in a meaningful way that would affect the market,” Roberts says about the New Year.
“As interest rates start to creep back, and the buyers become more savvy as to the marketplace, I do foresee homes being listed for less inflated prices, and there being less of a frenzy to purchase,” Pelletier predicts. “With this tends to come more amicable transactions, fewer appraisal gaps, fewer delays in the process, and less buyer’s remorse.”
Conclusion: The Right Time to Buy a Home is When It’s Right for You
It might sound trite, but the right time to buy depends on you and your circumstances (and this is true of the right time to sell, too).
“People list homes at different times for different reasons year-round,” Rivers says. “With many new job opportunities on the horizon I foresee many relocations or families looking to find the right size home for their lifestyle changes (ie working from home).”
“The right time to buy is when it’s the right time for you,” Roberts says simply. “It’s not an exact science. Depending on your situation we can customize a timeline plan.”
“All in all, being patient, and waiting for the right home, and being ready when the opportunity presents itself will pay dividends,” says Pelletier.