History says fall and winter are the best time to buy a home

November 11, 2022 - 3 min read

Why home buyers do better in fall and winter

As 2022 begins to wrap up, borrowers looking to buy a home may find it’s their best opportunity of the year. Mortgage rates have climbed overall, but home buying conditions generally ease up in fall and winter as demand fades and sellers become more flexible.

House hunters have a better chance of paying lower premiums when closing on a property in these months, according to Attom Data Solutions. Although, the best times to buy vary by state — so check out where you live if you’re ready to purchase a home.

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When is the best month to buy a home?

As foliage changes color and temperatures drop, prospective home buyers get their best opportunities to save money.

Attom Data Solutions found the most affordable months to buy a home by comparing median property values and median sales prices. In October, buyers pay just 3.3% above the median home value on average. By comparison, home buyers in May pay an average premium of 10.5% above the median home value — more than three times higher than October’s premium.

Savvy home buyers can take advantage of those lower prices and less competition from other buyers once the leaves start to turn.

-Rick Sharga, EVP of market intelligence at Attom Data Solutions

“Apparently the old adage ‘Spring forward and Fall back’ applies not only to setting your clocks, but to home prices as well,” said Rick Sharga, EVP of market intelligence at Attom Data Solutions.

He explained, “Seasonality has always had an impact on home prices, which tend to weaken in the fall and winter months when there’s less buying activity. Savvy home buyers can take advantage of those lower prices and less competition from other buyers once the leaves start to turn.”

Home values versus sales prices by month

MonthTotal salesMedian valuationMedian sales pricePremium paid
January2,440,874$ 190,362$ 198,1574.1%
February2,366,350$ 189,000$ 200,0005.8%
March3,123,442$ 196,342$ 210,0007.0%
April3,261,709$ 198,600$ 215,0008.3%
May3,560,639$ 199,000$ 219,90010.5%
June3,932,078$ 211,000$ 227,5007.8%
July3,896,532$ 213,182$ 229,0007.4%
August3,891,711$ 215,000$ 226,5005.3%
September3,505,874$ 214,000$ 225,0005.1%
October3,515,328$ 215,000$ 222,0043.3%
November3,028,121$ 217,000$ 225,0003.7%
December3,206,084$ 217,000$ 225,0003.7%

Attom Data Solutions’ analysis is inclusive of over 39.7 million single-family homes and condos sold from 2013 to 2021. The premium is the difference between the median valuation and the median sales price.

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The best days to buy a home

Broken down further, some individual days offer even lower home prices on average.

Nationally, the lowest premiums paid by borrowers are Nov. 28 at 1.1%, followed by Jan. 9 at 1.3%, then 1.5% for both Dec. 5 and 26. On the other end of the spectrum, May 23 has the highest premium at 16%, then May 20 at 15.7% and May 27 at 15.1%. Below are two tables showing the best and worst days to buy a house based on median sales prices.

Best days of the year to buy a house

DateTotal salesMedian valuationMedian sales pricePremium paid
Nov. 2848,760$ 204,000$ 206,2501.1%
Jan. 980,726$ 182,789$ 185,1691.3%
Dec. 593,854$ 197,000$ 200,0001.5%
Dec. 2653,228$ 197,000$ 200,0001.5%
Dec. 1998,130$ 196,449$ 200,0991.9%

Worst days of the year to buy a house

DateTotal salesMedian valuationMedian sales pricePremium paid
May 23108,359$ 175,000$ 203,00016.0%
May 20123,226$ 190,000$ 219,90015.7%
May 2799,009$ 200,000$ 230,10315.1%
May 16107,662$ 177,000$ 202,48214.4%
May 19106,593$ 196,414$ 224,00014.0%

The best months to buy a house by state

The number one rule of real estate is location, location, location. So it should come as no surprise that the top months to buy a home vary by state.

In nearly half the country, house hunters can actually get a discount compared to the median valuation if they close on a property during the right month. Purchasing in New Jersey during February gives borrowers a 3.9% discount. Maryland in January followed with a 3.5% discount, then came 3.3% and 2.7% for October in Michigan and Illinois, respectively.

Best time to buy a house in each state

CaliforniaJanuary0.7%New HampshireDecember-2.3%
ColoradoOctober-0.3%New JerseyFebruary-3.9%
ConnecticutDecember-2.4%New MexicoDecember11.8%
DelawareDecember-1.7%New YorkJanuary-1.5%
District of ColumbiaOctober0.0%North CarolinaJanuary1.3%
FloridaJanuary-2.1%North DakotaOctober15.9%
IndianaOctober15.9%Rhode IslandJanuary-1.2%
IowaOctober7.1%South CarolinaOctober-1.1%
MichiganOctober-3.3%West VirginiaDecember24.3%

The bottom line

Timing is everything in home buying and the end of 2022 and opening of 2023 present borrowers with a chance to get a good deal.

With competition lower relative to the spring and summer, and conditions softening overall, buyers can take advantage of a slower housing market.

If you’re ready, start your homeownership roadmap and reach out to a local mortgage professional today.

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Paul Centopani
Authored By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.