Sometimes we start a market analysis project looking for one thing and end up discovering something else entirely. Recently we decided to dig into the data to see if it supported our feeling that winter is the best time to buy, and the worst time to sell. However, when we got the results we discovered that our assumptions were dead wrong.
As we roll through the holidays and into winter, many would-be sellers will be holding off on listing their home, waiting for the spring “selling season” to put their home on the market. But if you’re ready to sell your home now, is waiting until spring the best strategy? Not according to the data, it isn’t.
We pulled a year’s worth of data on three quarters of a million homes listed across the country and analyzed sales statistics by season. Here’s what we found:
- Homes listed in winter sell faster: 46 days in winter vs. 55 days in summer
- Homes listed in winter are more likely to sell: 59.2% sell in winter vs. 53.1% sell in summer
- Homes listed in winter sell closest to their original price: a 2.7% drop from the final price in winter vs. a 5.2% drop from the final price in summer, worth more than $7,000 on a $300,000 home
Yup, you read that right: Overall, homes listed in winter sell best. 5.8% more homes listed in winter eventually sell (compared to the overall percentage of homes listed throughout the year), and they sell 1.4 percentage points closer to their original list price than the median—that’s $4,900 on a $350,000 home.
Spring wins in one category: Speed. Homes listed in spring sell the fastest, sitting on the market for 15% less time than the median. Winter comes in second in this category though, at six percent below the median, while homes listed in summer and fall both sell slower than the median (12% and 16%, respectively).
Apparently not many sellers are on to this pattern, because winter has twenty percent fewer listings added than the spring.
Of course, not all markets are alike, especially when it comes to the weather. In addition to the national roundup, we also pulled this data for most of the cities Redfin serves: Washington DC, Boston, Queens, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. Click your city on the list to see the breakdown there.
Keep in mind that we’re measuring correlation here, not causation. Listing in the winter won’t guarantee that your home sells faster, for more money, or that it will sell at all. That said, the data does seem to indicate that winter gets a bad rap for no good reason.
Why do you think most sellers are afraid to list their homes in winter? Should they be? Let’s hear your opinion!