There is an ebb and flow to the seasons of the real estate market which are often predictable and important to understand so that sellers can make the most informed and strategic decisions.
In years past, January and February were traditionally slower, quieter months. Buyers were huddled in their homes, reluctant to drive through snow drifts and look at homes to buy. Warmer winters and the ability for buyers to look at property online mean that the spring market usually begins sometime in the middle toward the end of the first month of the year.
Traditionally, the majority of all real estate sales occur during the months of March, April, May and June. Weather conditions are ideal, there are no major holidays that consume entire weekends and, as a result, buyer and seller is at its peak. Sellers are marketing to the greatest number of buyers and buyers have the greatest number of homes to choose from.
The market does downshift a bit in the month of July. The school year has a lot to do with it. The year has ended and families are spending more time outdoors or vacationing. The Fourth of July is always a big weekend. And, many buyers realize that, if they haven’t written an offer on a house by the middle of July, they may have missed their opportunity to get their kids enrolled in a new school district by the beginning of September.
Like July, the month of August is usually a bit quieter. Neither month is slow- it’s just a matter of everything playing out at a more leisurely pace. However, almost everybody’s focus is on enjoying the last remaining months of summer.
September and October are always great months. After the spring market, it’s the second busiest time of the year for real estate sales. Summer has concluded and everybody knows that, if they want to buy or sell before the end of the year, they really have until the first week of November to enter into a contract.
Finally, the months of November and December. For obvious reasons, these are the two slowest months of the real estate sales cycle. Almost everybody is focused on turkey and mistletoe; real estate is a distant thought- something that can be put off until after the first of the year.
Other than the last two months of the year, when sale prices drop a bit, there is really no discernible difference in valuation from the middle of January through the beginning of October. Unless there’s a serious reason, we traditionally advise our sellers to wait to list their homes for sale until after the holidays have passed.