With the holidays still in full swing, the last thing on most people’s minds is shopping for a new home, much less selling one. Many people are deterred by cold weather and poor driving conditions, or distracted by holiday vacation plans. But according to data released this week by online realty brokerage firm Redfin, winter is when the housing market really comes alive.
Redfin compiled home listing data, sales prices and time-on-the-market data from Oct. 2010 to Oct. 2014 and came up with some surprising results. Not only is winter the best time to sell a home for more than the asking price, it’s also the best time to list a home and sell it fast.
Redfin determined that homes listed in December, January, February and March have a higher chance at selling above the asking price than homes listed from June to November. With the exception of April and May, these four months have produced higher percentages of above asking price sales than any other month, and accounted for 17% in 2012.
As for the speed of the sale, February is the best month to list a house that needs to sell quickly, and 66% of homes listed in February sell within 90 days.
Redfin researchers did clarify that winter listings weren’t enormously advantageous, but the lack of competition can have positive results for sellers. “Home sellers were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season,” Redfin said in the report.
Fewer homes are on the market in winter, and the people shopping for homes are shopping because they have to, which means they’re serious about buying a home. People who shop for homes in spring may have a less pressing need, meaning that houses sell slower. In winter, many sellers want to close the deal quickly as well, which can be advantageous to buyers.
The winter deals also apply to developments recently constructed by custom home builders. Many homebuilders offer sales and reduce prices in the winter due to a surplus of empty houses. Buyers can take advantage of their slow-moving inventory to snap up a good deal.