Last Updated: February 1, 2021

February Is The New May

Written By: Barbara L. Pearce
Home blanketed in snow with pine trees and a yard filled with snow

Agents have known for many years now that, at least in Greater New Haven, May is not the best time to list.  That comes much earlier-- probably in February--because of the number of colleges and hospitals in the area.  Most job offers in those institutions are for years beginning on July 1st, and the offers come very early in the calendar year.  Once people decide to move, they begin looking at real estate.

Every year, no matter what we do, there is a shortage of listings to show to transferees during the winter months.  We try to get listings on the market sooner, but the "old" pattern of thinking that buyers want to buy in May and move before the start of school for their children in the fall is still stuck in the minds of sellers.  First of all, many buyers don't have children in school.  Even when they do, it is not uncommon for one parent to stay behind until the end of the school year, meaning that the purchase can come anytime in the moving process.  Now, with many school systems teaching remotely, some families can move whenever they find the right house.

Finding your dream home

Sometimes buyers find their dream home more quickly than they expect.  Our prices are still low enough that they may buy with a bridge loan, and sell in their previous location later.  Tax considerations also play into the timing of moves, and early in the year may seem safer to some.

Many buyers are local.  They don't have to move during a school vacation, and they have been looking all along, if we look at statistics on internet browsing.  Our hits go up in December, so it's clear that prospective buyers aren't waiting until spring to check out the market.  Now, in particular, with supply in general so limited, buyers will move more quickly to secure a home if it seems as though it works for them.  They have a better chance of doing so spring fever hasn't hit.

List Early, List Now!

Sellers should also consider how their houses will stack up in the market.  Listing early, when choices are fewer, will give them a much greater advantage, especially if there is something about the house that might not move it to the top of a bigger choice list.  With more of the looking done remotely, even the argument that it's harder to show a home in bad weather becomes less compelling.

Once again, we are sounding the alarm early.  If you want to sell, list now!  If you want to buy, don't let those early listings pass you by!  If you want to both sell and buy, give yourself the longest possible season in which to do so, by starting early!  You won't be sorry.  

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