When is best time to sell a home

Housing Market

Buyers aren’t the only ones looking for a deal.  Home sellers are also looking for a good deal – which means they want to sell their home for the most money.  As it seemed as if the housing market had strong sales this year, some sellers are still trying to decide the best time to sell.  But unfortunately, timing the market may not be as easy as it seems.

Some say that spring is the best time of year to list and sell a home, while others believe that summer is better.  Old time real estate agents will tell you about a time when there was a traditional selling season, which basically started in March and ran through June.  In recent history, it seems as if the boom/bust market from 2005-2008 rewrote those rules.  During the “go-go” market, the spring selling season couldn’t start early enough; home buyers made their New Year’s resolutions and shook off the winter fog in early January to begin their home search.  For several years, it seemed as if home buyers started their real estate searching earlier each year to stake their claims on real estate before other buyers got wind of the listing.

However, once the bubble busted, home buyer activity significantly slowed, those who wanted to buy a home became increasingly methodical about their purchase as well as starting their search later in the year.  It seemed as if the best time to list and sell shifted from the spring time to summer months.

Since the downturn of the housing market, sales activity peaked in the summer months.  June has been a consistent contender for year high sale totals – until this year.  The July 22nd news release from the National Association of Realtors® (realtor.org) indicated that June sales “slipped” about 1.9% from May.  Granted, June’s sales are significantly higher than June of 2012, but the slowdown may just be a fluke or an indication of something else.

Maybe the combination of increased inventory (NAR reported that housing inventory was slightly elevated from May to about a 5.2 month supply) along with rising mortgage rates (Freddie Mac’s June national average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.07%) is making home buyers pause.

And surely home prices are making buyers have second thoughts; bargain hunters are having difficulty finding bargains.  June’s national median existing home sale price increased 13.5% compared to last June.  Distressed home sales, foreclosures and short sales that typically sell at lower prices, accounted for 15% of June’s figures (compared to last June’s 26%) and are at the lowest levels since 2008.  And although it may sound like great news, the double-digit jumps in the average home sale price may be a statistical artifact due to declining distressed home sales.

If you’re waiting to list your home for sale this year, you may have mistimed this year’s market.

Research has demonstrated that attempting to time the market may not always yield the best results – timing the market is much easier in hind sight.  Market timing appears to be much more than looking at selling activity cycles.  You should rely on the expertise of your real estate professional for neighborhood sales data and trends to assist you in deciding the price and the timing of listing and selling your home.

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By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2013

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