If you’ve ever bought a home, you’ve likely heard from your REALTOR® that it’s better to buy in the fall and winter months to get the best deal — given less competition from other buyers in these colder months when families are entrenched in the back-to-school schedule.
RealtyTrac took a big data approach to checking the validity such conventional wisdom, and we did find the data to be in agreement—with a few glaring exceptions.
The Best Month to Buy is October
RealtyTrac analyzed more than 32 million sales of single family homes and condos since 2000, and we found that the month where buyers have gotten the best deal on average is October. Of the 2.7 million sales closed in October over the last 15 years, the average sales price was 2.6 percent below the average estimated full market value at the time of sale.
Following October as best months to buy were February, July, December and January—all fall or winter months except for July, which was a surprise given that conventional wisdom would suggest that is a good time to sell but not necessarily to buy at a bargain price.
The worst month of the year to close on the purchase of a home is April, when buyers over the last 15 years have purchased at an average premium of 1.2 percent above estimated market value at the time of sale. On the other hand, that makes April the best month for sellers.
The Best Weekday to Buy is Monday
Out of 5.5 million single family home and condo sales over the last 15 years that closed on a Monday, buyers realized an average discount of 2.3 percent below full estimated market value at the time of sale.
Friday is the second-best weekday to close on a home purchase. Buyers who closed on Friday realized an average discount of 2.0 percent.
Thursday is the worst day of the week to buy a home, with a 1.0 percent average discount, followed by Wednesday with a 1.4 percent average discount, and Tuesday, with a 1.9 percent average discount.
The Best Day of the Year to Buy is Oct. 8
While analyzing the monthly data, we also decided to take a look at the data by day of the year. We removed all days with fewer than 50,000 sales over the last 15 years (the average among all days was 88,501), which took out 10 days, including New Year’s Day, Veteran’s Day, July 4, December 24, 25 and 26 and Leap Day, which has fewer sales because it only occurs once every four years.
Of the remaining 356 days with sufficient sales data, the best day to close on a home purchase at a bargain price was Oct. 8, when, on average, buyers have purchased 10.8 percent below estimated market value at the time of the sale – followed by November 26 (10.1 percent below market value), Dec. 31 (9.7 percent below market value), Oct. 22 (9.6 percent below market value), and Oct. 15 (9.1 percent below market value).
The worst day of the year to close on a purchase of a home was Jan. 19, when buyers paid an average 9.6 percent premium above estimated market value at time of sale, followed by Feb. 16 (9.5 percent premium), Apr. 20 (9.5 percent premium), Apr. 6 (8.4 percent premium), and Apr. 27 (8.2 percent premium).
Rising Interest Rate Threat Another Reason to Buy
In 2015, the threat of rising interest rates could be another good reason to buy in the fall, according to Michael Mahon, president at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus markets in Ohio where the best days to buy at a discount were December 31st, January 22nd and February 23rd respectively.
The Sports Assist to Buyers
Colder weather and the school schedule may not provide a complete explanation for why buyers face less competition in the fall and winter. October, which accounts for three of the top five days to buy at a bargain price, is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to average temperature compared to other months. The average temperature in October among all counties nationwide is 56 degrees, sixth highest among all months, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Meanwhile we noticed that the best days to buy at a bargain price also align somewhat with professional sports schedules. October is the only month where all four major professional sports are in season or at least pre-season, and early February, which accounts for two of the five lowest-priced days to buy, is Super Bowl time.
Whatever the reason, RealtyTrac’s big real estate analysis of home sales shows there are definitely better days and months than others to buy a home if you’re looking for a big discount or a bargain basement price. All five of the top five days to buy are coming up in the next three months, so it might be a good time to start your home search now if you are considering buying a home in the near future.
On the other, hand, if you’re thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider waiting until April to get the best price for your property.
Best Day to Buy Varies by Market
RealtyTrac analyzed the best day of the year to buy to get the biggest discount in major metro areas across the country, and found that while in most markets the best day to buy is in the fall or winter months, there are some exceptions. Out of 109 metro areas analyzed, 37 had their best day to buy in the fall months of September, October and November, and 44 had their best day to buy in the winter months of December, January and February.
Some prominent exceptions include Seattle (best day to buy on April 1, no fooling), San Diego (Aug. 20), Pittsburgh (March 17), and Cleveland (June 13).
The interactive visual below allows you to see the best day to buy in major markets with a population of at least 500,000. Click on any county circle for details.