During this past summer, nearly half of the homes listed found a buyer within a month. The median days on the market nationwide was about 34 days from April to August, and some areas saw an even brisker pace, like in the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
But as the days of winter approach, home sellers should be prepared to face a longer process. It takes about 20 extra days to find a buyer in the winter - so about 50 to 60 days, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, notes in his latest column at Forbes.com. In the fall months, it can take about 40 to 50 days. And if the home is a short sale, the median days on the market can bloom to 130 to 150 days to complete the deal, regardless of the season.
“Even though there will be fewer buyers in the market in autumn and winter, the inventory of homes also shrinks during these periods,” Yun says. “Some homes are taken off the market during these months and much fewer new listings come online over the winter holidays.”
As competition decreases, buyers can expect to pay about $1,100 less, on average, for the same home in the winter compared to the busier summer months.
The seasonal slowdown can impact various price points differently too. For example, in the summer, homes priced between $100,000 and $250,000 were selling the fastest at a 3.4-month supply. On the other hand, homes priced between $750,000 to $1 million had nearly double that at a 6.3-months’ supply, and homes above $1 million had an 8.8-month supply. Sellers should expect the month’s supply to rise more in the winter months from the summer averages too, Yun notes.
As the season changes, the momentum of the market also often changes. Existing-home sales peaked at 5.57 million in June, but since have been inching downward.
“With this information, it is hoped that buyers and sellers have more realistic expectations about what’s in store this autumn and winter,” Yun says. “Come spring of next year, all loosening of the market conditions will have disappeared and another year of intense buyer competition can be expected.”