Save on a House with Seasonal Buying

Are you in the market for a house? If so, it’s important to be aware of seasonal variations. In my book on wealth, I discuss how time shifting purchases and activities outside of peak areas can lead to significant savings. In the case of buying a house, this means buying in wintertime.

Take a look at the following graph from Schwab:

seasonal fluctuation of house prices

If you look at the blue line, you’ll see that while the overall trend since 2012 is rising house prices, within each year there there are predictable ups and downs. House prices are highest during the summer months, and correspondingly hit a nadir in December-January. This makes sense. Fewer people are actively shopping for homes in the winter, given adverse weather.

Even though this trend is well-documented, a smart shopper can still use this as an opportunity to save on buying a house. The big downside is that sellers know about this trend as well and delay putting the houses on the market until summer. This means that the selection in winter may be suboptimal. You may not find your perfect dream house in the winter, but the sellers that do list in this time may be more desperate for a quick sale.

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