Like a predator expertly spotting and seizing their prey, homebuyers are ready to pounce on the perfect abode — but only if the price is right.
“If you’re flexible on your timing and can budget for higher rates, early fall can be a great time to secure a home, with a number of factors aligning to make it the best time of the year both in terms of price and competition,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said of the portal’s latest “Best Time to Buy” report published on Wednesday.
According to the report, the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 is the best time for homebuyers and their agents to capture a deal as the market downshifts from summer’s hurried pace.
In June, the median home price rose 16.9 percent to an all-time high of $450,000. Although some homebuyers decided to power their way through record home prices, rising mortgage rates and inflation, the report noted a sizeable share decided to bow out until macro and microeconomic factors swung back in their favor.
“As buying continued to get more expensive, some buyers chose to put off a home purchase for the time being, which allowed for inventory to begin its recovery,” the report read. “Despite an increase in inventory and a decrease in demand, prices continued to climb through June before finally leveling off in July as price growth year-over-year slowed.”
The drop in demand has generated major tailwinds for homebuyers, as lessened competition results in more available active listings, a longer average days on market and more price reductions.
From Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, Realtor.com said it expects:
- A 4.2 percent increase in new listings compared to the average week
- A 46 percent increase in active listings for a total of 780,000
- A 22.1 percent increase in average days on market
- A six percent increase in price reductions compared to the average week
The market shift could result in five-figure savings for the average homebuyer purchasing a median-priced home.
“This peak is historically driven by a combination of buyers leaving the market, which brings down demand, in addition to a build up of inventory throughout the year,” the report explained. “This year, the number of buyers leaving the market is much higher than in the past few years, meaning even more sellers may reduce their home price to draw buyer attention.”
“Adjusting for this year’s trends, buyers shopping during the best week could save close to $20,000 compared to the year’s peak,” it added. “And in several of the largest housing markets around the country, home prices during the best week can dip over 10 percent lower than their peak price earlier in the year, potentially saving buyers tens of thousands of dollars.”
Although it may be tempting for agents to push their buyers to make a move now, Hale and her team said it’s important to get a clear understanding of buyers’ priorities. If life factors, such as starting a new job, make purchasing a home a need rather than a want, then buying now is probably the best move.
However, if they have some room to wait, then waiting for further price cuts during late fall may be the best bet.
“The best time to buy optimizes a variety of factors to choose the best overall week to buy a home,” the report read. “However, if price is your chief priority or if you’re laser-focused on having the largest number of fresh home options, your best time to buy may be slightly earlier or later.”
It added, “If low home prices are your chief priority, consider waiting until a bit later into the fall, as home prices tend to come down as the holidays approach.”