What is the best / worst time to buy or sell a home?

Minneapolis, MN: As a Mortgage Loan Officer for well over 20-years, I get asked on a pretty regular basis about what is the best time of year to buy or sell a home. As many buyers are also sellers, it also makes sense the question can be changed into what is the worst time to buy or sell a home?

My general answer is the best time to sell a home is simply when you need to, and the best time to buy a home is also when you need to.

But if you’ve got time on your side, the following statistics apply to the seasonal trends in real estate for properties here in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, where I lend.

Best time to sell a home, best time to buy a home
Best Time to Sell a Home
Worst Time to Buy a Home

BEST MONTH TO SELL A HOME

April is historically the best month to sell a home in these area. This is the month where you will generally get top dollar as the most buyers are in the market, and willing to pay to get what they want.

As more homes come on the market from the winter sales lows, we see a steady rise in sales prices as we move into February, and March, hitting the peak sales price in April.

May and June drop a little from Aprils peak, but then we see a steady drop each month as we move towards winter.

BEST MONTH TO BUY A HOME

Want to pay the lowest for a home? Buy in November or December.

This is the slowest sales time of the year. The smallest numbers of homes are on the market, and the smallest number of buyers are in the market. This works on your behalf, as sellers tend to start lower, and are more willing to negotiate price.

Starting in July, we see a noticeable drop in the number of active buyers, and homes stay on the market a bit longer. January is the first month that changes the trend, but it really starts moving up in February. I generally see a huge sure in Mortgage Loan Pre-Approvals starting around February 1st.

WHY THE TRENDS?

There are all sorts of reasons for these yearly trends. Here are just a few:

November and December have the holidays. Thanksgiving dinners, and Christmas trees are great family times, but are not so much fun for sellers to have strangers coming through your house. Holiday’s also have so many other things going on, that buyers find it hard to find time to look at homes.

In the winder months, it’s cold outside. Homes and yards are covered in snow. Not so fun house shopping, unless you absolutely need to.

Spring brings people out in droves as the snow melts, and the weather warms, but increased sales has a lot more to do with kids. No one likes changing schools mid-year, so the big push is on this time of year to buy or sell to coordinate with the school year.

July and August fall off, as those are usually busy summer vacation months.

REAL DOLLARS vs MYTH

While these trends can be interesting and can work to your advantage, I still default to the statement that you should simply buy or sell a home when you need to, and not hold out for seasonal trends. Statistics for the Minneapolis / St Paul area in 2018 show on an average $300,000 home had a swing of just $10,241 from a transaction in April versus a transaction in December.


Looking to get Pre-Approved for financing that new dream home? It only takes 10-15 minutes to apply online right now. All the information needed to apply is in your head.

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Equal Housing Lender. NMLS274132. Not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement. Not everyone will qualify.


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