Attention, Home Shoppers: Circle This Week as the Very Best Time of the Year To Buy a New House
While experts are throwing around phrases like “housing correction” and “slowdown in the real estate market,” things don’t seem much easier for homebuyers in the trenches right now. There still aren’t many homes for sale, and what is on the market is selling quickly—and often for more than the asking price.
Buyers looking for a break—and to save money on the purchase price of a home—should circle the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1 on their calendars. Realtor.com® has declared this the best week of the year nationally to purchase a property as there are traditionally about 8.4% more homes for sale. And in a big bonus for buyers, properties are usually priced an average of around $20,000 less than usual.
“The best time to purchase a home is the last week of September, because that’s historically when the market is most hospitable to buyers,” says Realtor.com economic data analyst Hannah Jones. “Typically, the early fall is when there are fewer buyers. There are also more homes on the market, and the housing market is generally calming down from the summer rush.”
To come up with our findings, Realtor.com looked at home list prices, the number of homes for sale, the number of new listings to go on the market, days on the market, views of properties on Realtor.com, and price reductions in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Analysts skipped 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic disruption.
The lack of inventory has created a nationwide housing crisis and pushed prices up to record highs. The median list price in August is $435,000—a 14% rise from the same month last year, according to Realtor.com data.
Keep up with key real estate trends
However, the frenzy in the market began dying down a little this spring as mortgage interest rates rose and the worst of the pandemic appeared to be over. Higher rates have served as a cap on prices, thinning out the pool of buyers and limiting just how high buyers are willing to go.
And now that school has started and parents aren’t desperately bidding on properties to get their families settled before classes begin, the market generally calms down even more as there is less competition.
“The market is rebalancing on top of these seasonal trends that we see every year because mortgage rates have grown. Increasingly, buyers are no longer able to keep up with price growth,” says Jones.
“We expect prices to come down more than is typical from peak,” adds Jones. “Price reductions will likely be higher than the typical year, and demand will likely be lower than the typical year.”
Despite the higher mortgage rates, the market is becoming more buyer-friendly. The number of homes for sale was up 87.3% in August compared with the beginning of the year, and even more properties are expected to go on the market in the coming weeks.
In addition, days on the market increased from an all-time low of 31 in May to a median 42 in August.
The exact week that’s the most favorable to buyers varies geographically. While the first full week of October is the most advantageous nationally, the week of Sept. 11–17 is best for those in the Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Seattle metropolitan areas among others. The following week, Sept. 18–24 gets the nod for those in Austin, TX, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
Last year, the best week to buy nationally was Oct. 3–9.
The best time to sell a home is April 10–16, according to Realtor.com.
“If price is your major priority, then wait a little bit and you’ll likely see lower prices into the fall,” says Jones. “If having a larger selection of homes to pick from is your priority, then buying a little earlier may benefit you as inventory tends to be a little higher in the early fall and then taper off toward the end of the year.”