Is This a Good Time of Year to Sell?

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on November 13, 2013

At this time of year, we are commonly asked by clients interested in selling their homes, “Should we wait until spring to list our home?”

This question is often rhetorical. There is a common belief that the fewer number of buyers during the winter means it is a less opportune time to sell here in Thurston County.

During the winter months there are fewer buyers.  However, there are two facts that challenge that perception.  First, the number of local home buyers is not dramatically different from that in the summer.  For example, December of last year had 23% fewer buyers than July 2012 (212 and 276, respectively).  Definitely a drop, but not as much as we find most people expect.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, the ratio of buyers to sellers stays relatively constant throughout the year.  Spring and summer months see more buyers, but there are also more sellers competing for their attention.

Chart Two Qtr 4 2013

In Thurston County, the ratio of buyers to sellers in July of 2012 was 29%.  In December, it was 25%.  Again, a slight drop off from the summer buyer-seller ratio, but it is not dramatic.

Our chart shows that in many years since 2000 there was actually a better ratio of buyers to sellers during the winter months.  If someone really wants to sell and get into that next home, these figures demonstrate that winter is not a bad time from purely a market perspective.

However, our advice to sellers is never a stock answer because every person’s situation is unique.  If the move is more optional, then there are other practical considerations.  For instance, is the homeowner OK with prospective buyers coming through the house during the holidays?  Will the house show better in the spring months, with the garden growing, or simply more daylight highlighting the home?  In many cases, waiting until after the New Year to market the home is advisable.

Currently, our local market overall, still slightly favors sellers.  At a 4.4 month supply of homes (four to six months is considered balanced), this is one of the better markets we have seen over the past six years.  Buyers are taking advantage of prices and interest rates, both of which are on the way up.  Even if sellers do wait until after the holidays, most won’t wait until spring to get their home on the market.

Note: Local statistics compiled by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. from Northwest MLS Data. Statistics not compiled or published by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: