May is the best month to put a home on the market in all but seven of the country’s 25 biggest metro areas. These properties sell faster and for more money than the national average.
By Leigh Kamping-Carder
Wall Street Journal
March 2, 2016
May the force be with you, in May.
According to real-estate website Zillow, May is the best month to put a home on the market in all but seven of the country’s 25 biggest metro areas. Homes listed in the first half of May sold 18.5 days faster and for 0.9% more money than the national average, according to an analysis of the past three years.
Warm weather and the September start to the school year motivate many people to shop in the spring and close in the summer.
May’s “magic window” for listing a home is a change from a previous analysis, which examined 2011 and 2012 data and found that March was the prime time for listing.
Why the change? It’s mostly due to the drop in homes on the market, which has effectively extended the buying season, says Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. Buyers who have made multiple (unsuccessful) offers may be ready to pay more for a property and get a deal done. “By the time you get to April, May, June, you’re starting to get relatively desperate in terms of wanting to get into a home, especially before the kids start the next school year,” Ms. Gudell said.
The May boost was most notable in Chicago and Baltimore, where sellers who listed in the first half of the month could expect to close the sale 22½ days faster than other sales in the area (with prices 1.2% and 1.1% higher, respectively). “The first half of May is really when, after a long, sloggy, dreary winter, there comes a magic moment when Chicagoans finally come out of their hibernation,” says Brad Lippitz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group.
In San Francisco, sellers listing in the second half of May (that city’s magic window) could expect to sell 7½ days faster and get a 1.5% price bump over other local sales—a testament to the Bay Area’s heated, low-inventory market. “You could list anytime of the year and still be pretty well off,” says Ms. Gudell.
Of all 25 metro areas, Seattle’s sellers stood to gain the biggest price boost—2.6% over the area’s average—while in New York, the window offered a mere 0.6% increase.