The best time to buy a house in America is officially here. Between Sept. 12 and Oct.17, the majority of markets across the country will hit their home buying sweet spot with more homes for sale, lower prices and less buyer competition compared to the average week of the year, according to Realtor.com’s Best Time to Buy a House Report. This week kicks off the season with optimal home buying conditions in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Portland, but the majority (18 markets) won’t hit their prime until the week of Oct. 3 (see chart below for optimal weeks by market).
Those who buy a home during their market’s best time to buy week on average will see 166,000 (31%) more listings than the average week of the year and have an additional 100,000 more new listings to choose from nationwide. They will have 18% less competition from other buyers than the peak and 6% less than the typical week. They could see prices $10,000 (2.6%) below their seasonal high and will have 7 more days, on average, to consider a home before it’s gone.
“Home prices peaked in the summer, and new listings continue to come on the market helping slow the pace of sales — which is good news for homebuyers,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist, Realtor.com®. “As families across the country focus on getting back into school routines, there are fewer buyers in the market, creating a great opportunity especially for first-time homebuyers to make a purchase with somewhat less competition.”
Based on an analysis of listing data since 2018, Realtor.com® has found that this time period offers the best balance of market conditions for homebuyers. While the current market is still challenging, especially for first-time homebuyers, the key factors — available homes and buyers in the market — align best starting Sept. 12 to reduce prices and competition with the majority of major metro areas hitting their sweet spot by Oct. 17.
Best Time to Buy a House for the Top 50 Largest Metro Areas
There will be more homes to choose from
• Although the year began with extreme inventory shortages, the market began to consistently see more listings this summer adding 100,000 or more new listings in 15 of the last 17 weeks.
• On average, the best time to buy in each market will mean 166,000 (31%) more active listings than the average week and have an additional 100,000 new listings to choose from nationwide. That is 46% more than the start of the year.
• The week of Oct. 3, we expect to see 7.2% more active listings than the average week, and 17.6% more than the start of a typical year.
• If 2021 follows the typical seasonal pattern, there should be around 705,000 listings on the market in October nationwide, which is roughly 100,000 more active listings than during the peak summer season in July.
Buyers will face less competition
Fall sees a seasonal slowdown partly driven by the opening of schools, as many buyers put their home search on hold when their children return to the classroom.
• July is typically the peak for homebuyer demand, as measured by views per property on Realtor.com®. 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.
• On average, the best time to buy in each market will see 18% less competition than the July peak and 6% less than the average week.
Prices may begin to dip
Prices and affordability remain at the forefront of many buyers’ minds, especially after the double-digit price growth earlier in the year. During the best week to buy, homes may be more affordable.
• During the week of Oct. 3 prices could dip 2.6% compared to a typical season high. On a median listing price of $385,000, buyers could save approximately $10,000. And in the largest housing markets, prices could dip more than 10% from their peak.
• The best week to buy is also a peak period for price reductions, with an average of 7.0% of homes dropping their price. Based on inventory estimates, this could mean roughly 50,000 homes nationally will see price reductions.
• An added help to buyers: mortgage rates remain near historical lows (2.87% in August).
Homes are selling a bit slower
Homes have been selling at a blistering pace, forcing many buyers to make a purchase sight unseen, or to make more concessions to close a deal. But the best week to buy should bring some relief to those who need more time to make their decision.
• In June, the national median time on market for a home was just 37 days, down from 56 days in 2020.
• On average, home buyers will have 7 additional days to consider a home.
• During the week of Oct. 3, we expect the pace to slow by 18%, compared to the peak pace earlier in the year. That means by October, it should slow to about 44 days.