There are several factors that influence how much you’ll have to pay for a home, including the type of home, the location you’re buying in, and your interest rate. Another factor that might not be considered as often is the time of year you’re buying in.
“Seasonality does play a factor, especially when it comes to finding the home you want to buy,” says Maureen McDermut, a Realtor at Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Barbara, California. “Most sellers wait until the spring and summer months, so you might have to wait until then to find ‘the one.’”
Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of buying a home during different seasons.
How Seasons Affect Homebuying
Much like the weather, the housing market tends to heat up during the spring and summer, and cool down during the fall and winter. The seasons can affect inventory, and in turn influence what you’ll have to pay. This is especially true in areas that experience dramatic changes in weather from season to season.
You can expect more homes to be available on the market during the spring and summer.
During the fall and winter, the market slows down, and there are fewer options available. Sellers tend to avoid listing their homes when it’s snowy because it’s harder for buyers to attend open houses. There’s also not as much natural light, and the home may feel less inviting for buyers on tours.
In the fall and winter, when there are few buyers and less inventory, sellers may be more willing to reduce their asking price to close the deal.
It’s important to note that seasonal factors have a bigger impact in locations that experience dramatic weather changes from season to season. For example, it’s harder to attend an open house after a blizzard in Maine, but this isn’t a concern for homebuyers in Florida.
Is Summer a Good Time To Buy a Home?
Summer is typically when the weather and the real estate market are the hottest and there’s more inventory. According to research between 2013 and 2019 from First American Data and Analytics, the number of home sales usually peaks in June each year.
This is likely because families with kids are out of school, and it’s more convenient for buyers and sellers to move. Compared with winter, summer doesn’t have as many busy holidays. Sunny weather also can help sellers boost their curb appeal, and open houses are easier to attend.
However, you’ll typically face strong competition from other buyers in the summer, which means you may feel compelled to offer above asking price or to waive certain contingencies. According to research by Attom Data on single-family home and condo sales, sellers earned a 10.7% premium above market value in June from 2011 to 2021.
While it can be difficult to score a good deal on a home during peak buying season, the market starts to slow down toward the end of August. Buyers who wait until the end of summer may be able to get a good price on a home that’s been sitting on the market.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in Summer
Is Fall a Good Time To Buy a Home?
The market tends to slow down in the fall, which can be an opportunity for buyers to get a good deal. In addition, real estate agents tend to be less busy in the fall compared with summer, and they’ll often have more time to dedicate to you and your homebuying needs. However, there also tends to be less inventory on the market. There are several reasons why sellers may be eager to find a buyer in the fall. For one, sellers may want to deduct various expenses and fees associated with a home sale — such as capital gains tax — from their taxes. Sellers whose homes lingered on the market through peak buying season, or those who want to avoid moving during the holidays, may be willing to lower their asking price to get an offer.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in Fall
|— Lower prices.|
— Buyers have more leverage to negotiate.
— Less competition.
— Real estate agents are less busy.
|— Less inventory than in the summer.|
— If you have kids or are in school, you’d have to move during the school year.
Is Winter a Good Time To Buy a Home?
In general, winter is the time of year when you can find the lowest prices on homes. The market slows down during the coldest months due in part to the weather and the holidays. Some sellers even suspend their listings between Thanksgiving and the new year.
There also is less competition among buyers during the winter. Families looking to move often avoid doing so in the middle of the school year. As a result, sellers typically receive fewer offers, buyers have more leverage to negotiate, and sellers are more likely to lower the asking price. However, the winter has less available home inventory. While you may be able to score a better deal, you’ll have fewer options to choose from.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in Winter
|— Lower home prices.|
— Less competition.
— Buyers have more leverage to negotiate.
|— Less inventory.|
— Harder to attend open houses.
— It can be disruptive for families to move during the holidays or in the middle of the school year.
Is Spring a Good Time To Buy a Home?
As temperatures start to warm up during the spring, so does the housing market. You’ll typically see more houses on the market as the school year winds down and April showers bring May flowers — and boost curb appeal. Houses tend to show better during this time of year, which can lead to quicker sales.
Many buyers wait until winter is over to start looking for a home, which drives higher demand and competition. Sellers receiving multiple offers may be more stubborn about their asking price and less willing to budge. You may even find yourself in a bidding war with another buyer. This can make it harder to get a good deal during the spring.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in Spring
|— More inventory on the market.|
— It’s easier to attend open houses.
— It typically isn’t quite as competitive as summer can be.
|— More competition.|
— Higher home prices.
— You may have to offer above list price.
— Less leverage during negotiations compared to the fall or winter.
— Inventory goes quickly.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how seasons affect homebuying.