What’s the Best Season for Home Buying?

After the holidays, buyers tend to start getting more aggressive with their house hunting. Search activity usually peaks around March or April in most states, according to a new study of home searches from 2007 to 2012 conducted by Trulia. 

The study revealed that post-holiday motivation pushed many potential homebuyers and renters back into full-on search mode at the beginning of the year. Nationally, online real estate search activity surged in January and usually reaches its peak around March or April.

Typically May sees a slight dip, but is directly followed by a second yearly peak during the summer months. Home searches usually dip the lowest in December.

“Home-search activity swings with the seasons in every state,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia. “Buyers and sellers can use these ups and downs to their advantage. Sellers looking for the most buyers should list when real estate search traffic peaks. Buyers, however, should think about searching off-season, when there is less competition from other searchers.”

While most online home searches at the state level correspond with typical seasonal patterns, local markets are completely different depending on the market.

In Hawaii and Florida, January has home search activity 10% above the average; however, Maine reports a 10% decrease in activity compared to the average.

Typically, search activity peaks during the summer in the South and for a few states in the Northwest and Northeast. However, Montana and Oregon don’t peak until August. By the time October rolls around, every state is below its annual average in search activity, and every state drops even lower in December.

“Local weather patterns have a big impact on when people search for homes online. If it’s too cold or wet to check out open houses, people search less online,” said Kolko. “Search activity in warm-winter states, like Florida and Hawaii, peaks in January and February. But for most of the country, search traffic is highest in March or April, especially in regions where summer brings rain. In general, people search more online when it’s warm and dry outside.”

Here are the months when online real estate searches peak in every U.S. state:

  • January: Hawaii
  • February: Florida
  • March: Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington
  • April: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin
  • May: Real estate activity does not peak in any state
  • June: Mississippi
  • July: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming
  • August: Montana and Oregon
  • September-December: Real estate activity does not peak in any state

Source: “Trulia Reveals Best Home-Searching Season,” HousingWire

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