Is it better to buy a house at the end or beginning of a year?

Asked by Juicedformovin, Seattle, WA Tue Apr 23, 2013

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Karen Mcknig…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sun Apr 28, 2013
BEST ANSWER
Hi juiceformovin,

There are pros and cons each time of year. Inventory is at it's seasonal lowest from about December through January. The inventory starts to build in February, tends to peak mid-summer and then starts to decrease again from December through January.

The most important factor in your own personal buying decision is to buy when you are prepared. Being prepared means, you are able to get a pre-approval letter from a lender recommended by your real estate broker. Lenders with more than 10 years experience and who are with broker-banker institutions have the most ability to get your loan closed in today's lending environment. Interest rates are more important than price in determining your buying power.

If you go to my website, http://www.karenmcknight.com, and click on Market Statistics, you will see the annual seasonal trend I am talking about. You will see that "absorption", the ratio between sales and listings peaks in the spring almost every year. That means the spring is when there is the most competition for available inventory.

If you want more explanation, you can contact me at http://www.karenmcknight.com .

Good luck with your purchase,
Karen
Web Reference:  http://www.karenmcknight.com
0 votes
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Wed Apr 24, 2013
Interesting question, with several different possible answers.

From a weather perspective I prefer October-April because the typical rain during those months makes it easier to catch water issues during an inspection, and also it's a better time to test a drain field on a septic system. Note that rain often extends to July 4th. ;-)

If you're just looking at less competition from other buyers, then the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically good, but that wasn't true last year.

If you're looking at tax benefits, the very beginning of the year may be best, so that you more easily get past your standard deduction (consult your tax adviser).
0 votes
Ray Akers, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
There are benefits to homeownership that begin the day you become a homeowner. Right now, interest rates are at a 40-year low. Those ultra-low rates won't last forever. Home prices are rising, too. Values went up 12% to 10% in Seattle in 2012. Home prices are expected to rise that much in 2013. If you buy now, you may realize 10% appreciation by the end of the year. The sooner you buy, the more tax benefits you'll receive from the mortgage interest deduction. There are good financial reasons why you should buy now, rather than wait. Good luck with your decision.
0 votes
David Bell, , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
It's better to buy a home when you are ready to buy a home. It's the Devil you know vs the Devil you don't know. We know what the market is right now, we know what mortgage rates are right now, and we also know that there are bidding wars on most good properties in and around Seattle right now. And we know that prices are going up right now, but nobody know what the market will be doing in September, or November or January 2014. I think most "so called experts" would say that the Seattle Real Estate Market is pretty strong right now and if things keep going the way they have been since Spring of 2012 it's time to buy. But that's only true if it's your time to buy. Are you ready to buy? If not what are your reasons?
0 votes
Johan Tong, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
Typically, there are less buyers towards the end of the year in comparison of the middle of the year. But it does not necessary mean less competition.

Seattle summer is beautiful. Not only people come out to enjoy the sun bath, but buyers also visit more homes for sale during Summers. As a result, the marker typically sees more listing, starting April to October. On the other hand, the sellers are aware of this trend. They also prefer their home dry and clean when the Realtors show houses. Thus, you may see more opportunity to buy in summer time while facing a high possibility to compete in multiple offer situations. In Winter, it is usually wet and could be muddy. Not only buyers do not prefer to go out, but also sellers do not prefer to have their home open to the public. Less demand and less supply, you may have a bit lower likelihood to face purchase competition.

HOWEVER, THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT!!! This year since January, the market has seen more buyers and, in contrast, less supply than it did in the years before. You may be better waiting a few months but missing the opportunity to buy at the market price today. In King County, we see a constant 5% increase since December 2012. If you wait for another three or four months, the market predictions are the median sales price will be a lot higher. For your local market information and buying tips, read the Trulia blog below:
0 votes
Danny Greco, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
I don't know if there's really a "better" time or not. Both agents who previously answered are correct. With real estate there's never really a bad time to buy. It's kind of like asking when is the best time to plant a fruit tree? Well the best answer, like buying a home, would have been 20 years ago. The second best time is always now.

Generally there are lesser buyers out there towards the end of the year, but fewer homes for sale too. I don't think there's a difference putting one season over the next under a microscope. The bigger picture is what's more important and right now with historically low interest rates affordability is very high. Of course, they can't stay this low forever so 3, 5, 10 years or more down the road I think we'll look back and say the years of 2009-2014 were great years to buy. I hope that helps!
0 votes
Kyoko Matsum…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
The best time to buy a house in now. The interest rates are great and although the inventory is low, if you do your homework, you can still find wonderful homes to buy.
0 votes
Phyllis McAr…, Agent, San mateo, CA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
Usually there are less Buyers out there towards the end of the year, and giving you less competition too
0 votes
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