The past year has been a double-edged sword for homebuyers as they’ve struggled to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates in the midst of record-high home price growth. However, there’s a silver lining for bidding-war-weary buyers, according to realtor.com’s latest market report.
Thanks to a normalizing market, homebuyers can expect to experience some much-needed price breaks as the fall homebuying season goes into full swing. Based on four years of listing data, realtor.com said the week of Oct. 3-9 is the “sweet spot” for buyers looking for the perfect abode at a reasonable price.
“Fortunately for buyers, some relief may be on the horizon as the season quickly approaches the best time to buy — the time of year when the balance of market conditions favor buyers the most,” the report read. “With all of the challenges facing buyers as the housing market recovers from the impact of the pandemic, this week provides a balance of market conditions that favor buying over every other week of the year.”
Realtor.com said homebuyers are benefiting from the kickoff of the school year, meaning most parents are holding off their homebuying plans until next spring or summer when moving is easier. Also, many markets are experiencing a boost in new inventory, meaning savvy buyers have more leverage to negotiate as the competition takes a timeout.
“The typical seasonal trend expects this week to have 17.6 percent more active listings than the start of the year,” the report read. “If this trend holds in 2021, we can expect to see around 705,000 listings on the market in October, which is roughly 100,000 more active listings nationwide than during the peak summer season in July and 166,000 (31 percent) more active listings than the average week so far this year.”
“The summer has the highest concentration of buyers looking at each home for sale, which translates to competition for buyers looking to lock down a home,” it added. “During the Best Week, demand is 18 percent lower than the peak in July, and 6 percent lower than the average week.”
The increase in inventory and the decrease in competition also leads to a longer list-to-sale pipeline, meaning homebuyers will have more time to do a proper home search and find a home that actually fits their needs.
“The best week historically slowed by 18 percent compared to the peak pace earlier in the year,” the report noted. “With a median time on market of 37 days in June, by the time the best week comes around in October, that pace should slow down to 44 days, adding an additional week for buyers.”
Although most buyers will have a few weeks to take advantage of their market sweet spot, some homebuyers will have to strike a little faster. In Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Denver, Portland, and Minneapolis, the best week to purchase has already started — Sept. 12-18.
“Those markets made up 17.4 percent of the national inventory in July,” the report explained. “Among those markets, the week of September 12-18 has historically had an average of 27 percent more listings on the market over the typical week of the year.”
“Competition with other buyers, as measured by views per property, has been down 32 percent during this time compared to the average week,” it added. “The time on market has been up 40 percent. On average, listing prices are 5.8 percent lower during this week compared to the peak prices in these areas at other times of the year.”
If your buyer isn’t ready to push the pedal to the metal right now — no worries. Some of the top markets along the west and east coasts prime buying week extends into late October before it gets too cold. Meanwhile, plenty of southern markets’ prime buying week is in January or February, thanks to year-round warm weather.
“Each of these housing markets strike a different balance of market factors during this week as it relates to buyers,” the report concluded.