Updated 9/12/17; Originally published 6/20/16
- The first 6 months of the year is the best time to be selling
- November is the worst month to have a listing on the market
- Adjust your expectations depending on the time of year you are buying or selling
Many people know that real estate is seasonal. The summer is when people tend to move more often than not, and winter tends to be cold.
What does that look like in the Fort Hood Area (Killeen, Harker Heights, and Copperas Cove)?
Here is a quick look through June of 2017, depicting all single family home that closed, by the month they went under contract.
As you can see, there are appreciably more sales in the summer than in the winter.
- Summer is the best time to sell
- Winter is the best time to buy.
Why use the “under contract” date instead of “closing date”?
Because the useful information is to know when your home needs to be on the market to get buyers and go under contract. Those contracts generally close four to six weeks later. If you think that is the hot time, then you’re already four or six weeks too late.
For example, a lot of homes probably closed in August. But as we can see, August is not a great month for sellers to get under contract. If you wait until August, you’ll have missed out on the early summer surge.
The above graph might be more difficult to interpret because the number of homes sold every year is rising dramatically each year in the Fort Hood area. The graph below looks at each month’s sales as a percentage of the total year’s sales.
From this, we can tell different trends in each year, like October of last year was unusually active. The raw totals of summer sales were much higher last year, but as a percentage of sales, it was actually slightly slower versus previous years.
Surprisingly, March is one of the hottest months to find buyers, and it stays hot through July. If you are looking to sell, you want lots of foot traffic. That means getting on the market in January or February is probably the ideal timing for listings.
How does this impact prices? The prices of homes sold in the winter are about 3% less than the market average.
But, there are still buyers in November. I wouldn’t recommend delaying your list date just to try to time the seasons. Over 200 homes sell in every November and December, in spite of the holidays. I’ve had listings get multiple offers in December and sell over the asking price. The main takeaway is to especially focus on getting your home listed as early as possible.
There is a chance that homes on the market the holiday months of November and December will have less competition, therefore more motivated sellers, and therefore better deals.
Another note for buyers – builders in Killeen are often scrambling to meet sales goals and unload inventory before midnight of December 31st. Buying in December can be the best time for a buyer generally, but can often be an especially good time when buying a completed home from a builder. Many builders will increase incentives around this time (though be cautious, often they will also increase their agent commissions, and hopefully you have a good agent who is not steering you toward a builder for the commission).
Be realistic about what season you are selling or shopping in. A home on the market in June that doesn’t sell – maybe there’s an issue. A home on the market in November that doesn’t sell – maybe it’s just the time of year.