Buying a home is an exciting time and it looks different for each individual buyer. Certainly, if you need somewhere to live, you may not be able to wait until the “perfect” time to buy a home. But, some homebuyers have some flexibility and can wait until the ideal time to buy a new home so that they have the most available new homes from which to choose and at the lowest possible prices. There is no one magical time of year to buy a home but there are certain times that are better depending on what your home buying goal is.
First, if your goal is to have as many homes as possible from which to choose, spring is typically a great time of year to look. Spring is frequently the season when there is the highest inventory. But, during that time of year there is also much more competition from other homebuyers which means you may end up paying more than you would during a different time of the year. If you are looking for a season of higher inventory where there may be slightly less competition, October – December is also a good time of year where inventory is somewhat higher.
In fact, winter may be the “sweet spot” for a homebuyer that wants to find the perfect blend of inventory and somewhat lower prices. Trulia shares some interesting statistics about buying a home in winter or spring, “It turns out that starter home inventory actually increases by about 7% in the fall months compared to the spring. That leads to listing prices that are about 4.8% and 3.1% lower in the winter and spring than in the summer (or third quarter), respectively…What’s more, listing prices of starter homes take an annual dip between January and March of each year, likely a result of the spike in inventory that happens at the end of the year.” Buying during the “off season” of winter means that you will often have a bit more negotiating power so you may be able to get more home for your budget and those winter home sellers are typically more motivated to sell their home. If you think you may be interested in buying a home in winter, start looking in the fall because it can take a while to find the right home and then put an offer in, close on the home, and move in. By starting early, you will have time to look around and find the right home that you can put an offer in when the timing is right for you.