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Buying a home? It’s the best time of the year to act

Real estate agent adjusts for sale sign in front yard
Home inventory typically increases in the spring and summer.

Grace Carey/Getty Images

If you’re looking to buy a home in 2023, you’ll likely notice some tough conditions in the housing market.

Housing prices and mortgage rates have generally increased over the past few years. At the end of 2021, the average 30-year fixed-rate the mortgage was below 3%, rising to over 7% by the end of 2022. Now, beginning in 2023, the average remains above 6%, According to Freddie Mac.

Meanwhile, housing inventory has often been low, although that is beginning to change. As of February 2023, active listings are up 67% year over year Realtor.com. This may help lower housing prices, but it may still take more time for supply and demand to balance.

While these trends have implications for areas like the Fed’s handling of inflation and the pandemic fueling new real estate behavior, buyers can still look to historical trends to get a better idea of ​​when. buy a house.

Determining when to buy a home can vary significantly from person to person and region to region, but seasonality can affect issues such as housing inventory and home prices. Start exploring your mortgage interest rate options here now to find out exactly what you qualify for or use the table below to compare rates and lenders.

Best time of year to buy a home

In general, watch out for the following:

Best Time of Year to Buy a Home (When Inventory is High)

Typically, housing inventory rises during the spring and summer and declines during the winter.

The exact peaks and valleys in terms of the best and worst months to buy a home can vary based on a wide range of conditions, such as how housing inventory generally fell throughout 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Usually, though, these seasonal patterns last year after year.

Christina Morales, a realtor in Ohio, California and Texas, notes that listings typically begin to rise around March, with inventory peaking in early August.

“Probably because of the good weather and school holidays. If the seller has a family with kids in school, they usually don’t want to sell until the end of the school year. If the seller doesn’t have kids, most realize that the flip side is that buyers Don’t want to move in the middle of a school year,” he explains.

And because buyers expect this time of year to be one of the best months to buy a home, creating a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy, more sellers are looking for listings around this time to meet those expectations, Morales adds. However, market conditions sometimes change these dates.

“My busiest months since 2020 have been in December, so during the winter/holiday months I think there’s definitely more activity than people would expect,” Morales said. “In the low-inventory environment we’ve been in, buyers have to be ready to buy any time of year.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the next few weeks or months, it helps to know the interest rate that’s right for you You can now easily find here or use the table below to review rates and lenders in your zip code.

Best time of year to buy a home (when prices are low)

While spring and summer may be prime seasons for inventory, winter months tend to be the best time to buy real estate given the low prices.

Remember, though, housing prices don’t always ebb and flow the way inventory can. In general, real estate values, like other assets, tend to increase over time. But you may find some discounts, or prices may drop over the winter before picking up again as spring approaches.

Generally, buyer competition decreases during the winter and holidays, Morales said, so that can affect prices. Instead of getting into a bidding war and paying above the asking price, for example, a less-competitive environment may enable you to negotiate a better deal.

“Today, however, I think the best time to find a home and get a good deal on price is when the seller has listed their home too high and it’s been sitting on the market longer than it should,” she says.

Time on market tends to increase in winter, but the length can vary.

In the past, Morales says, 60-plus days would have been the standard, but now listings with these deadlines are “a great goal to give buyers the most negotiating power.”

Bottom line

Overall, the best times of year to buy a home depend on what your goals are. If you’re looking for the highest level of inventory, but not necessarily the lowest prices, consider spring or summer. If you want to try to get a better deal, consider winter.

That said, consider these as general guidelines, not strict rules. Local conditions may differ, or broader market forces may affect inventory, prices, and the like Bail rateWhich may influence your decision.

In this current environment, for example, “as inventory remains relatively low, factors like weather or time of year are less relevant,” Morales said.

When you’re ready to buy a home, look at the current condition to see what that means Perhaps mortgage costs are falling, for example, so you may decide to buy a home as soon as possible to lock in a better rate regardless of the season. Or, maybe housing prices drop during a recession due to an economic downturn, for example, which might encourage you to buy then.

No matter when you finally decide to act, make sure you’re armed with your qualifying interest rate, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying each month. You can now check interest rates and lenders here or use the table below to learn more.

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