Entering the Housing Market in Winter? Only the Serious Need Apply

Folsom sales and new listings dec 13


I met a home buyer yesterday who said, “I heard that no one buys in Winter and that I should wait until Spring, when there’ll be more inventory, is that true?”

Yes and no. “‘Wait until spring” is the advice given by a lot of well-meaning folks. Parents, neighbors, co-workers and even some agents will tell you wait, and sometimes they’re right.

They’re pretty convincing, too.  They’ll tell you that homes don’t show well in winter, with bare trees and yellow, soggy lawns.  They’ll tell you that most people home shop after work, and it’s dark by then, so they can’t really see what your house looks like.

They’ll warn you of the inconvenience of having to interrupt your evenings and family time, get up and go out into the cold, while agents and their unmotivated Looky-Lou clients track mud through your home.  Not worth the hassle.

On the flip side are the eager agents who, no matter the market conditions, say ‘It’s a great time to buy (or sell)! Really? It’s ALWAYS great?

The truth of the matter is that there is some truth in there, but it’s all in what your needs are and the way you look at things.

Take a look at the chart above. From March through October, there was an average of 131 new listings per month in Folsom, but only 62 in November, and as of today 17 new listings in December.  It would seem a lot of people are listening to that advice.

One might look at that chart as proof that ‘no one buys’ or ‘no one sells’ in winter.

One could also look at the same chart and see that 70 people closed on homes last month in Folsom.  That’s 70 people who bought in one of the months that ‘nobody’ buys in.  84 homes have gone ‘pending’ since then, so it seems that some ignore that advice and are rewarded for their efforts.

Here’s the scoop; in winter, you’ll find only the serious buyers and sellers.

If you’re a buyer, you won’t find too many home owners ‘testing’ the market. They are generally more motivated to sell and may have compelling circumstances, such as job transfer, marriage or divorce.  There are fewer listings, but less competition for them, and you only need one anyway.

If you’re a seller, you’ll also find more serious buyers at this time as well, and for similar reasons.

Whether buying or selling, you know today’s market; how long homes take to sell and at what price.

Waiting until spring has its advantages, but some risks as well.

Homes look prettier with sunshine and flowers, and more buyers come out to see homes, some to buy right away, some in anticipation of a late spring or summer move.

As a buyer, you may have more to choose from, and as a seller, you may have more buyers coming to your door.

The risk, however, is that we don’t know where prices, inventory or interest rates will be like at that time. If rates go up, buying power will be reduced, and prices are likely to fall.

So, is this a great time to buy or sell? It depends. If you’re not in a hurry, don’t hurry, but if you have a more immediate need, there’s no time like the present.

What are your thoughts? Discuss in the forum: http://www.tomatopages.com/folsomforum/index.php?showtopic=39931

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