Spring is traditionally heralded as the best time to sell a home, and this spring’s home-buying season is shaping up to be a strong one. Despite a slight dip early in the year, existing home sales are pacing at a rate that’s 5.4% higher compared to last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Best Time to Sell a Home This Spring Is a Narrow Window
If you’re planning to list your home this spring, when you decide to do it may be more important than the market in which you’re located. A new report from Zillow pinpoints exactly when homeowners have the best odds of clinching a sale. (For more, see Selling Your House? Avoid These Mistakes.)
Conventional wisdom would dictate that the early bird gets the worm, but Zillow’s research tells a different story. According to its latest analysis, homes listed from May 1 through May 15 sell around nine days faster than other homes listed during the spring buying season. Not only that, but they sell for nearly 1% more than the average listing. (For more, see 6 Tips for Selling Your Home Fast.)
Overall, the best time to list is late spring, usually either in April or May, in 20 of the 25 largest metro housing markets. Some markets prove to see a larger spike in late spring home sales than others, however, which may be linked to a lower supply of homes. For example, homes in the Chicago market listed between May 1 and May 15 sold 12.5 days faster than average, while homes in New York and northern New Jersey only sold 7.5 days faster than average.
Day of the Week Matters
In addition to the time of year, Zillow also uncovered a trend when analyzing the day of the week on which homes were initially listed. Again, doing things later may benefit home sellers. New listings that show up on Zillow on Saturday earn on average 20% more views in their first week than listings that appear earlier in the week. Listings that appear on Friday garner 14% more views than homes that list on a Monday. (For more, see Playing Hardball When Selling Your Home.)
As Does the Weather
Interestingly, Zillow’s analysts suggest that weather could play a part in influencing when the best time is to sell. If you live in southern states, for example, you may have a longer time frame in which to sell due to fewer fluctuations in the climate, versus sellers in other parts of the country where there’s a more defined dividing line between the seasons.
And Then There Is the Mortgage Rate
Looking ahead to the rest of the spring home-buying season, there’s another factor sellers must consider other than the time they plan to list: mortgage rates. Following the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the federal fund rates in December, mortgage rates inched up above the 4% mark. According to recent data from Freddie Mac, mortgage rates ended at 4.14% in March 2017, down from 4.23% in February.
With the Fed having raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a point in March, and with more hikes anticipated in 2017, that trend could reverse. Buyers could be scrambling to get into a home before the rising rates push affordability out of reach. This could be beneficial for sellers who are hoping to get their home on the market within the early May window. Forty-two percent of homes listed that sold in February were there for less than a month, suggesting that buyers are eager to grab a deal on a mortgage before rates go higher. Another positive side effect for sellers is that it may allow them to increase their list price, assuming that demand for homes remains steady.
The Bottom Line
If you’re planning to sell your home this spring, now’s the time to prepare. Taking the temperature of your local market can help you price your home accordingly and give you an idea of what to expect from buyers. Checking out the comps in your area and talking to your real estate agent can help decide on a price and when the best time is to put your house on the market.