Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home

If you’re tired of the long, gray winters and are thinking about relocating to sunny Orlando, you might be under the impression that spring is the best time to buy a home. Even though this is a popular notion, it’s a misconception. Sure, the flowers bloom and the weather is fine, but, those pleasant conditions mean that you’ll be up against a lot of competition, whether you’re out to buy a property, or, whether you’re listing a home for sale. In the real estate market, the most active months are in the spring, with many homebuyers doing their serious searching near the end of the season. The strategy is to purchase just before summer, then, have that time to move-in and personalize.

Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home

Chief economist for Realtor.com, Jonathan Smoke, explains the real estate market in 2014 and again in 2015, look quite similar, forming a bell curve that peaks in late spring, and falls as the winter months roll around. In December 2014, inventory was at its lowest level for the entire year. This year is shaping-up to be the same and that phenomenon is just the right environment for buyers.

December is usually when people are looking to deck their own halls—not buy new ones. But buying a home in December and January can be a smart move. Michael Corbett, Trulia’s real estate expert and a bestselling author, is a big fan of the holiday season, what he likes to call “the lull.” He says that savvy home buyers should take advantage of this time if they’re serious about buying. —Forbes.com

The news gets better when you change location. In the winter, up north and in the midwest, the real estate market essentially goes dormant. This is because snow and ice conditions form, making it difficult to properly stage a home, hard to inspect because of the weather, and, less daylight for buyers to tour homes that are available. In Orlando, however, there is no snow and ice to deal with, but, it’s still a slower market because people are preoccupied with the holidays. Here are more reasons why winter is the best time to buy a home:

  • Buyers have less competition. Because the vast majority of buyers are out house hunting during the spring and into the summer, you’ll have less competition to deal with when you find a home you like. That helps to prevent bidding wars and multiple offers, two very stressful situations.
  • The climate is accommodating. While snow and ice make it difficult to even get to homes to tour personally, and, thwart the ability to conduct a comprehensive inspection, that’s not the case in central Florida. During the winter, temperatures might fall, but there’s no snow and ice to combat.
  • There are fewer homes for sale. The spring is when inventory levels are highest, and, at the same time, buyers are out in droves. This creates near equilibrium, which isn’t present during the winter months. This gives buyers an edge and puts sellers in a position where negotiation is more of a necessity.
  • Sellers are generally more motivated. Listing a home for sale late in the year is typically the result of a life change: having to relocate for work, divorce, death, and other situations. This means homeowners are generally motivated to sell.

Another reason winter is the best time to buy a home is that some will be stragglers from the spring listing season. These homes languish on the market for various reasons, but that means you could find an absolute steal.