The National Association of Realtor's chief economist Lawrence Yun has urged home buyers searching for a bargain to step their house hunt up a notch. Writing in Forbes, Yun advises that the biggest discounts for home buyers tend to be landed by those who close in January. As such, they need to get the home contract finalized by mid-December at the latest.
Yun notes in his article that home prices decline by 0.51 percent in January on average, compared to the peak price months of August and September. For a home priced at the national average of $220,000, that can amount to a discount of $1,122.
According to Yun, this seasonal decline is not just because of the home's price depreciation.
“A good portion of movement is driven by a higher proportion of lower priced and smaller-sized homes getting sold during the winter months,” Yun wrote in his column. “The reason for this is that families with school-aged kids are generally not in the market during the winter because they do not want their kids to be disrupted during a school year, and it is the families with kids that generally require the larger homes that carry higher prices.”
As such, the discounts that homebuyers can take advantage of during winter might just provide enough of an opportunity for those who're looking to, but struggling, to break into the housing market.
Yun says that most real estate professionals already known this is true, simply because there are much less people who're actively looking to buy a home during this time. What that means is many listed homes can sit on the market for weeks or even months, and so the few buyers who are looking to close at this time should have a much better chance at finding themselves a bargain.