Last month I lost my smart phone. I kept calling my number, hoping someone (anyone!) would hear. A Good Samaritan found it in a parking lot and answered my call. When I met him to pick up the phone, he refused to accept any payment but I started thinking about how I could pay it forward.
So in this Thanksgiving month, I’m thankful I got my phone back and with it the ability to manage my life without interruption. I’m using my thankful holiday attitude to spread cheer and put a smile on my clients’ faces to reduce their home buying/selling stress.
I’m also glad that this incident gave me the idea for this month’s blog post. I’m paying it forward to you – pointing out the good side of house hunting during the holidays.
Starter Home Inventory Is Higher Now
In the majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas, more starter homes are on the market between October and December according to new data from online housing site Trulia. Starter home inventory increases by about 7% in this period, with lower listing prices. The Trulia data shows that in our Washington, DC area, winter brings prices that are about 5.3% lower than other seasons. More houses for less money: great news that first-time homebuyers can use to their advantage by starting their house hunting now.
It’s an Advantage if You Aren’t Tied to The School Year
A lot of articles you read about seasonal house hunting are geared to moving after the end of a school year (“The Best Time to Find a Home Is Spring” type of thing). That’s one reason more houses go on the market in spring and sell for higher prices, and why there are price cuts and lower inventory in family-size homes by September. So if you aren’t tied to kids’ schedules and have flexibility, house hunting now can yield a better deal.
Buying A Home Now Can Save You Thousands
The lowest home sales prices in general occur between December and February. Remember that sales prices equal closings, which are typically 30-60 days after a house goes under contract. So that low-sales-price time frame is really reflecting offers that were made and accepted in November and December – right about now.
Fewer Buyers Are Competing for Houses
If you’ve ever lost a house to a higher bidder, you’ll be happy to hear that fewer homebuyers are looking at this time of year. Traffic is slower, so it’s less likely that you’ll have to compete when you find the house you want. However, this also means that the people interrupting their holidays with house hunting are serious buyers. So be clear on what you want in a house and when you find it, go for it!
Just Remember That Home Buying Trends Can Be Bucked
My nature is to tell you that in spite of all my pointers above don’t try to time the housing market. Nothing is written in stone. As a listing agent I once got three offers for my Seller in late December, on a house that I originally thought may have been priced too high for the market. My question to you will always be, “What works for you?” If finding a home during the holidays is for you, then let’s do it!