This is a question I get asked a lot and though it seems like a simple question it’s far from easy to answer.
Let’s start with the most obvious. Not everyone is asking the same question even though the words are the same. Be specific, clarity is king.
If what you are really asking is “what is the best time of year to buy”? The only answer is... what-ever time of year works best for you.
Real estate is not the same as retail sales. Prices are not reduced because of seasons and of course there is no such thing as clearance price to make room for new inventory. During the winter months the amount of properties available on market shrinks so you will not have as many choices as many seasonal residences come off market because seller doesn’t want the extra heating and snow removal expenses and lots of people do not want to move in the winter. They take the property off market just before snowfall and re-list in spring.
Are you really asking “Have prices dropped dramatically, has the market bottomed out” Your real estate agent can confirm if prices have dropped but it’s impossible to know where the bottom of a market is until sales and prices increase again and you can see the shift.
And finally if you’re asking “ Is now is a good time for ME to buy” Your real estate agent can help you decide if the time is right for you but they will need to learn more details that only you can provide.
You may be surprised to discover most of what makes it a good time to buy has more to do with you than the real estate market.
Your age, reason for buying, type of employment, future plan, your hobbies , are you looking for your forever home (10+ yrs) , are you a first time home buyer, do you have to sell a home before you can buy another, looking for an investment property, will be recreational now but eventually you will retire here.
The answers to these types of questions and more are what your real estate agent uses to help guide you to the clearest answer for your personal situation.
Imagine for both the following examples that we are currently in a seller’s market; lots of sales happening in short amount of time and prices are high.
Now let’s say you work for a company that regularly transfers its employees every few years or you are scheduled to complete your degree 2 years from now and future work placement could have you on the move in 3-5 yrs. Now may not be the best time for you to buy.
Other factors will come into account such as; has the market just recently shifted to a seller’s market or starting to show signs of slowing down. 3- 5 years will probably not be enough time for the market to bounce and rebound again to increase the value of your home even if you account for the other expenses you would be paying such as rent if you do not buy now
On the other hand if you are looking for your forever home, in my opinion, what market we are in currently and level of prices should not play a large role in your decision to purchase. What seems like a ridiculously high price today can seem inexpensive 20 years from now. And if you are like my mom, 45 yrs later, the purchase price compared to today’s market value is so different some would say it’s unbelievable.
What is most important when choosing your forever home is finding the one that feels perfect ;-)