When buying a house, it’s best to strike when the iron is cold. Literally, in this case.
Analyzing data from the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas from Realtor.com, NerdWallet found that sale prices are highest in the summer and lowest in the winter, with swings that could save buyers thousands of dollars.
The best time to buy is January or February, when homes cost nearly nine percent less on average than in June, July, and August. January or February had the cheapest sale prices in 48 of the 50 metros.
Many sellers put their homes on the market in the spring and summer, but sales drop after Labor Day because, as experts note, families don’t want to uproot during the school year. With fewer buyers in the fall, inventory stays on the market longer, leading to lower prices in the winter months.
If you shop for a home during the off-peak season when homes sit on the market longer, “you can have more leverage, in terms of presenting more aggressive offers, asking for contingencies or things you might not be able to in the peak of the season,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com. He says buyers at all times of the year also typically have more control over when they move, whereas sellers often have more urgency.