When is the best time to buy or sell a house?

The best time to sell a home is the spring or early summer, right? But is there evidence to back up that belief? This article provides the answer to the question: when is the best time to buy or sell a home?

I looked at the median price of the Single Family Homes (SFH)  sold in Essex County by quarter over the last 19 years. (Note that in all my reports, while sales numbers include all recorded MLS sales, median prices exclude distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales).

The highest price recorded each year is highlighted. This shows that in 15 of the 19 years the highest median price was recorded in Q3 – July to September; in three years the highest price was achieved in Q2, and in just one – 2000 – the highest price was in Q4. But in none of the years did Q1 see the highest price.

Essex County housing market

The next table shows the same data but with the lowest quarterly price highlighted. Here we see that in 16 of the 19 years the lowest median price was seen in Q1 and in the other 3 years it occurred in Q4, but never in Q2 or Q3.

Essex County housing market

Let me summarize these in a table:


Essex County housing market

While the argument has always been made that the spring or summer is the best time to sell a house because that is when there are more buyers looking (hence, more sales take place), the evidence here adds the additional information that the best prices are also achieved in the summer months.
Thus, as a seller one does indeed want to be ready to go to the market when the thermometer rises. Conversely, the best time to buy is :

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Sounds a lot like the forecast for this weekend.

If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or Andrew.Oliver@SothebysRealty.com.

Read How should I choose the broker to sell my house?

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated

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