Best Time to Buy a House Might Be Now in These Metros

Between now and Oct. 17, most markets across the country will have more homes for sale, lower prices and less buyer competition, according to Realtor.com data.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – If you’re in the market to buy a home, the next five weeks might be a perfect time, according to a new report from Realtor.com.

After a year marked by low inventory and high prices, most markets across the country will have more homes for sale, lower prices and less buyer competition between now and Oct. 17 compared with the average week of the year, the data shows.

The metrics used in the report to calculate the best time to buy a home included listing prices, inventory levels, new listings, time on market, homebuyer demand and price reductions.

“You’re not necessarily going to get the lowest price, but you’ll get a lower-than-peak price and you’re not going to see as much competition from other buyers,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com.

This week marks the best buying conditions in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis and Portland metro areas. But many areas won’t hit their prime until the week of Oct. 3.

In markets such as Phoenix and Miami, the optimal buying season tends to be in the early part of the year.

“Most of those markets where we see a January or February best time to buy are retirement communities, a lot of older buyers who aren’t as tied to the school calendar as a lot of family, and the weather is good year-round in most of those markets,” Hale says.

But in metro areas where families are getting back into school routines, there are fewer buyers in the market, which creates a great opportunity, especially for first-time homebuyers, to make a purchase with somewhat less competition, Hale says.

Although the year began with extreme inventory shortages, the market began to consistently see more listings this summer. It added 100,000 or more new listings in 15 of the past 17 weeks.

“If you look at the listings data, they didn’t ramp up as much as they normally would in the spring,” Hale says. “Buyers on the other hand were out in full force early in the year. Therefore, the early part of the year was more competitive than we typically see.”

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, according to the report.

During the week of Oct. 3, prices could dip 2.6% compared with a typical season high. On a median listing price of $385,000, buyers could save about $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% of homes dropping their price. Based on inventory estimates, that could mean roughly 50,000 homes nationally will see reductions.

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