Ideal Timeframe to List Home
Spring selling season is ready to bloom—in just over a week for some of the nation’s markets according to Zillow, which last week reported the best time frame to list a home for sale in specific major metros across the nation. The Hanley Wood Data Studio picked up on the Zillow report and created the interactive map shown above. Click on the regions to see the optimal date range in each market to list a home for sale, the average sales premium when listed in those weeks, and the amount of time it takes those listings to sell.
Surprisingly, even a difference of two weeks can significantly impact the number of days a home remains on the market, as well as the final amount it will sell for. By analyzing data surrounding single-family homes and condos between 2008 and 2015 within each metro, Zillow determined that nationally, the best time to list a property is in early May between the 1st and 15th. Homes listed within these dates sell 18.5 days faster than the national average, and for a sales premium of $1,700—or 0.9% more—than the average American home.
Minneapolis had the highest sales premium of the bunch for homes listed May 1-15 showing a 2% premium ($4,300) and selling 19.25 days faster than the average. Homes in New York and Northern New Jersey also had an optimal listing time of May 1-15, but showed the least significant sales premium of only 0.6%. However, homes in that market sold 16.5 days faster than the average.
Homes in Chicago and Baltimore flew off the market when listed between May 1-15, selling 22.5 days faster than average homes in the area with sales premiums of 1.2% and 1.1% respectively. Homes weren’t snatched up as quickly in San Francisco, one of the most expensive existing home markets in the nation, where the best time to list a home was May 16-31. Homes listed during this time only sold 7.5 days faster than average, but still saw a relatively high sales premium of 1.5%—totaling a whopping $12,200 extra for sellers.
In 2015, homes listed starting in May in Chicago (where homes sell the fastest when listed during the first week of May) and Philadelphia saw an increase in average sales price even when the number of closings did not consistently climb, meaning consumers were purchasing homes for higher prices. In Houston, San Francisco, and Miami, final prices for homes starting in May increased even as the number of closings fell.
Low supply and increasingly high demand could be the determining factor in when homes will sell at their peak price and fastest rate now that the housing market is seeing unprecedented competition and intense bidding wars among potential home buyers. Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell commented in a news release that today’s housing market is heavily influenced by low inventory. "Faced with increasingly competitive markets, many buyers are forced to consider several homes and make multiple offers, elongating the home shopping experience,” said Gudell. “By listing homes further into the shopping season, sellers may attract buyers who are increasingly eager to purchase and may be more willing to pay a premium for the home."
In some of these regions across the nation, the median price of existing single-family homes has increased significantly, posting an 8.2% year-over-year increase according to January data from the National Association of Realtors and the Hanley Wood Data Studio. The increase in price is due largely in part to the drop in inventory and low supply—existing home inventory was down -2.2% in January compared to last year, pushing home prices up to high levels.
The Hanley Wood Data Studio pulled the numbers, and analyzed the inventory in some of the top markets Zillow listed. In the second quarter of 2015, which includes the optimal date ranges for almost all of the markets Zillow studied, finish vacant inventory for detached, single-family homes tended to be low compared to the rest of the year. The finished month’s supply for Washington, D.C., Dallas, and New York/Northern New Jersey was low in the first two quarters of 2015 specifically, supporting the theory that low supply and high demand are what makes the spring months the best time to sell. In some markets however, such as Chicago and San Francisco, the finished months supply did not vary significantly and was in fact higher compared to other quarters of the year. In those markets, other factors such as the economic health, affordability, or weather conditions could be at play in determining the opportune time to list a home.
Weather conditions also greatly impact home listings. Metros with distinct climate changes showed the largest differences between the best and worst times to list a home, primarily Seattle and Minneapolis, making the time frame the home is listed within ever more important for sellers in these markets.