Frequently the decision to buy or sell a home is driven by an event or timeline. Perhaps you have taken a new job in another city and need to sell and buy to coordinate with a start date. Or a baby is due and your current housing situation will quickly become inadequate. Or you need to make a move between school years.
Other times the move is discretionary. A first time home buyer may be on a month to month lease and can move whenever the time is right. Or family planning to get a larger home or downsize due to an empty nest can select their time frame.
If your move is discretionary, which is the best month to make the move?
If you are a seller, “best” can mean two things. It can mean getting the highest price or it can mean selling quickly. People often think in terms of price but many sellers I’ve dealt with want to get the home sold quickly and will sacrifice a little in price if they can get the home sold fast. Some like the certainty that it is over. Others really don’t like people coming through their home at random hours.
I reviewed the sales data for Fairfax County, Fairfax City, City of Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria since 2013 to determine the months with the highest average price (best for sellers) and the months with the lowest average price (best for buyers). I did that same for days on market (DOM).
A few notes
- When looking at average prices by month, factor in that the contract may have been written in the prior month or even 2 months before.
- DOM means the number of days from when the home first goes on the market to when the contract was accepted. It is not the the time from going on the market to settlement.
AVERAGE PRICE RESULTS
Month with the highest average price 2013 – 2018: June 5 times, July once
Month with the lowest average price 2013-2018: February 3 times, January twice and September once
Times a month was in the top 3 highest priced months from 2013-2018 – June 6 times, July 5 times, May 4 times, December 2 times, November 1 time.
Times a month was in the top 3 lowest price months from 2013-2018 – January and February 6 times each, September 3 times, March, October and November 1 time.
Average difference between the highest priced month and the lowest priced month in a given year was 11%.
MEDIAN DOM RESULTS
Month with the shortest DOM 2013-2018 – April 3 times, May 3 times
Month with the longest DOM 2013-2018 – January 5 times, December 1
Times a month was in the top 3 fastest DOM months from 2013-2018 – June 6 times, May and July 5 times, March 1 time
Times a month was in the top 3 slowest DOM months from 2013-2018 – January and December 6 times each, February 4 times, November 2 times.
Average difference between the fastest month and slowest month in a given year was 31 days.
If your move is discretionary, I hope this gives you some food for thought.