The best time to list a home for sale in Metro Phoenix is in early May, according to a new Zillow analysis. Homes listed in those weeks can sell for a 3.4% premium, or $15,400 on a typical home. Early November is the worst time to list a home for sale. Homes listed those weeks can sell for a 3.4% discount, which is $15,400 on the typical home.
Nationwide, a Thursday during the second half of April is the best time to list a home for sale, according to a new Zillow analysis of millions of 2021 home sales. Homes listed during those weeks can expect to fetch 2.8% more, or about $9,300 on the typical U.S. home. And homes listed on any Thursday, when shoppers are planning for weekend showings, can sell for about $1,100 more.
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The pandemic-era housing market barely resembles the one from two years ago, with sky-high demand and record-low inventory driving intense competition for homes. Homes are selling fast year-round, with a difference of only a few days between the fastest and slowest periods. But one thing that’s remained constant: Listing a home for sale in the spring will yield the best results.
The potential price benefit from listing at the right time has grown as home values have increased. Listing during the best or worst times of the year can impact a sale price by as much as $21,000, compared to a difference of only $12,500 before the pandemic.
“With inventory as low as it is, home sellers can expect a quick sale pretty much year-round,” said Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud. “Even as frantic buyers are snapping up homes days after they hit the market and often bidding them up above list price, there is still value to be had by listing a home during the right time of year, which is in the spring in most cases. This is a friendly market for sellers, but those who are simultaneously buying need a firm grasp on the right tools and strategies to win their next home.”
Of course, all real estate is local, and the advice differs across major U.S. markets. If 2021 trends hold true this year, among the 35 largest metro areas, San Francisco, San Jose, Portland and Austin would have seen the best time to list a home to be as early as the second half of February. Los Angeles, where winter weather does not deter buyers, has the latest ideal time to list; those who listed their home in late December last year saw the biggest price benefit, just edging out late March. Los Angeles metro inventory was 20% lower in December than March, likely contributing to increased demand for each home.
Still, those markets are outliers. In most large markets, listing in April or May is the sweet spot. Nationwide, the worst time to list a home is during the first two weeks of November, when homes sell for a 3.5% discount.
Regardless of when they are listed, homes are selling quickly. The difference between the periods with the fastest sales (late January through April) and slowest sales (August) was only three days last year, compared to a difference of 12 days in 2019.
Most home sellers become buyers as well, as they look for their next home. As the best season to list a home approaches, buyers should be prepared for a competitive and fast-moving market. Home listings in April get more than 30% more page views per day than average, meaning more interest and potentially a bidding war that ends in the home selling above list price.
Buyers should sort out their finances early: deciding their budget, finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a loan, all of which can be done on Zillow’s home loans page. Features like SharePlay and Zillow’s Homes to Compare tool help compare homes quickly with a shopping partner or team. According to customer research, 86% of Zillow users report shopping with a partner, spouse or housemate, and most successful buyers (81%) say they had to make at least one compromise in order to afford their home. The ability to compare more than 70 key listing details on one screen with Zillow’s Homes to Compare tool elevates shoppers’ ability to consider tradeoffs and what they and their shopping partners truly want and need in a new home. And whether buying or selling, a real estate agent with the right skills and experience can help expertly navigate the process. Zillow’s agent finder can help identify a top-rated local agent.