Don’t Let Sellers Discount the Winter Months

November 29, 2016

Certainly, the spring season is the best time to list a home. Home owners have a better chance of selling for more than the list price in the spring, and there's a greater likelihood for going under contract within 30 days.

However, the spring season just barely budged out the winter as the best time to list, according to a new study by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

Indeed, 18.7 percent of spring listings received above the asking price while winter listings were close behind at 17.5 percent. What’s more, 48 percent of homes listed in the spring sold within 30 days; 46.2 percent of homes in the winter sold within that time frame.

Take a look at these findings:

  • Spring: 18.7% sold above list price
  • Winter: 17.5%
  • Summer: 15.1%
  • Fall: 14.7%

“You may have fewer people looking to buy, but those who are looking are serious,” says Michelle Leader, a Redfin real estate professional in Oklahoma City. “Buyers that time of year often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a lowball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”  

Also, sellers will often find less competition in the winter, allowing their home to stand out more, Leader says.

Autumn may very well be the trickiest time to sell. Forty-one percent of autumn listings sold in 30 days or less, and just 14.7 percent of homes sold above list price in the fall, the study showed.

“Buyers with kids often want to get settled in their new home before the school year starts, so they’ve already closed in spring or summer,” says Michael Linden, a Redfin real estate professional in Chicago. “And right after you list, the holiday season begins, which can delay the time it takes to close, and causes many buyers to pause their search. The last quarter of the year is just not an ideal time to put a home on the market, particularly if you want full price or a quick closing.”

Listing at the start of the new year may work to a seller's advantage no matter where they live. Sellers are actually not dependent on living in a cold or warm weather climate when it comes to seasonal fluctuations in the real estate market, with winter and spring remaining the top selling seasons even across markets with colder weather, like Boston.


Source: “Home Sellers: Spring Is Great, But Listing in Winter Pays Off, Too,” Redfin (Nov. 21, 2016)