Spring or Winter? When is the best time to list and sell a home?

When is the best time to sell a house?  Most real estate agents will say the best time to sell a home is in the spring and summer.  Many real estate agents will go on vacation over the November and December months because the inventory of available homes drops to a seasonal low in December and January.  This leads many people to not buy or sell homes in the winter months.

I also used to believe that spring and summer were the best times to sell a house, but over the past ten years I have been surprised to find that I am working with clients to buy and sell all through the holidays and into the new year.  While I would love to take the holiday months off to spend with family, though I typically end up working through the winter months and I have been knowns to write contracts on Christmas eve.

This year I wanted to take a look at the data as it relates to selling a home in December.  I wanted to see if there were any historical trends based on the data from the past five years.  So I chose Parkway and Rockwood school district as my test market and I only looked at preexisting home sales over $100k to help eliminate investment and foreclosure properties.

As expected, the number of available home listings drops significantly, and so does the number of sales.  I also noticed that the ratio of homes sold to new listings dramatically increased the odds of a home selling.

In these areas the peak season brings over 500 new listings per month, but every December there are less than 200 new listings.   This has happened every December as the number of homes sold has actually been higher than the number of listings coming on the market.

Below is the ratio of homes sold to the number of new listings in each December:


                     Sold     New     Ratio

Dec 2016      294      209     140%

Dec 2015      300      196      153%

Dec 2014      304      192      158%

Dec 2013      260      154      169%

Dec 2012      225       161       140%


Notice the ratio is always over 100% and this only happens in December and sometimes in November.  Typical peak real estate months bring ratios of 50% to 80%.

Statistically the odds of selling our house are much better in November and December and the best agents in town will recommend listing your house in these months.  Of course you may find it difficult to find a new house after the sale of your current house, but if you are building a new house or have already bought a new house then November and December are your best months to sell.