Do you have anyone on the fence about listing their house? Reach out and give them incentive to act: The best time to list a home for sale is in the spring.
That’s the result of the Homelight National Agents Insight Survey, published in late 2017.
The study surveyed top real estate agents in markets across the country, and compared their perceptions with actual transaction data. The authors found that in most markets, the best time by far to sell a home for the best possible price was in March, followed by April and May.
The worst time to list was during the winter holidays in November, December and January, when holiday distractions and cold weather limit homebuyer activity. Many homebuyers look to close home sales in the spring, so they can move the family during the summer months when children are out of school.
Homelight’s numbers broadly confirm earlier numbers from Zillow, though Zillow’s data places the optimal time to list a house later in the spring. According to Zillow’s data, homes listed from May 1 through May 15, sell around nine days faster and for nearly 1 percent more than the average listing.
This was true in 20 of the 25 largest metro markets nationwide. Zillow’s latest numbers indicate that the best time to sell a home is later spring, in April or May.
In seller’s markets – competitive metros like Portland, Denver and Seattle, the difference was even more pronounced, with homes listed around that time earning between 1.5 and 2.5 percent more than comparable homes listed at other times during the year.
Some Markets Vary
While the data showed that the spring months get the best results using nationwide numbers, individual markets do vary, and they can vary by a lot.
The seasonal data was strongest in areas with colder climates. The correlation of spring weather to high home prices is weaker in warmer markets like sunny San Diego, California.
While warmer markets exhibited less of a seasonal factor in home sales prices, December is nearly always a bad time to list, and nearly all major markets showed strength in the spring months.
Where markets are competitive, sellers have more flexibility, as buyers may have to make multiple bids to get the home they’re looking for. This tends to broaden the window during which home sellers can expect to get the best prices for their homes.
Spring Listings Sell Up to 3 Weeks Faster
The data also showed that homes in many markets sold much faster if they were listed during optimum times for their market. For example, homes in Detroit that were listed between March 16 and March 31 also sold more than two weeks faster than homes listed during other times of the year, on average. Homes in Riverside, California that were listed between April 1 and April 15 sold 15 days faster. And homes in Atlanta, Georgia listed between April 1 and April 15 sold for 1.4 percent more and 19 days faster, on average, than homes listed outside of that window.
Historically, September and October are also good times to list in most markets, but the price spikes are usually less pronounced than those in the spring. Seasonalility
Does this mean someone should adjust their plan to match the optimum listing dates for their market? That depends on each person’s individual timeline and how much a higher selling price means to them.
If you’re looking to pick up some listings and take advantage of spring’s seasonality premium, contact your seller leads, because now’s the time to list.
Even if your leads aren’t quite ready to sell, it’s a great opportunity to reach out to them and educate them on the local housing market – keeping you top-of-mind. And top-of-mind awareness is what keeps you in the running when the time comes to list.