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Leaves Die in the Fall; Does the Real Estate Market?

The media loves truisms – things people accept as being true. So do the people who consume media – meaning, all of us. Truisms are easy to summarize, easy to put a catchy name to, easy to explain with a nice simple infographic.

But it’s also easy to not look carefully at the accepted truisms – to see if they really apply to you.

Here’s a tried-and-true, universally accepted truism: Spring is the time to sell or to buy a home. The weather is good, people are enthused and ready to think about a change, it’s the perfect time to plan a housing change for school-age kids… yes, there are a lot of good reasons to buy into this concept.

And, statistically, it holds water. Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors, says, “Generally, home sales tend to be very robust in spring and summer, then begin to soften during the autumn and winter months.” And it’s true: the four-month period from November to February accounts for only 27% of annual home sales.

But… that doesn’t mean you should just eliminate the possibility of buying or selling a home this time of year. In fact, there are some distinct advantages in considering a real estate transaction in the fall.

Here are some reasons this fall can be a good time to sell a home:

  • There’s still an inventory shortage. Even though housing starts are up, there is still a relative scarcity of homes on the market. This keeps you in a strong position of supply versus demand.
  • In a direct contrast to the traditional spring selling season, in the fall you’ll see more serious buyers. Spring is full of looky-loos who are just in the mood to check out homes – partly because there are so many for sale. A higher percentage of fall shoppers are truly ready to buy.
  • Many buyers who have some flexibility in their timeline – think retirees, first-time buyers – consciously choose to wait for fall and winter, because they face less competition for the same properties, and may avoid the bidding wars that break out on so many spring sales.

But what about people looking to buy homes? There are also some very good reasons to go looking in the fall:

  • Historically, buyers can take advantage of the accepted trend – home prices tend to be lower, relatively, in the fall versus the spring.
  • This year, home builders have a larger inventory of new homes compared to the last few years. The new-home market is much more sensitive to comparison shopping (and pricing) than older, more varied-age homes.
  • Interest rates on home mortgages remain low – and when there are fewer buyers on the market, lenders are that much more motivated to write you a mortgage loan.

So, if you’re willing to look at the full picture, truisms don’t always, well, hold true. So get in touch with your Alpine mortgage advisor today to find out if fall is actually the ideal time for you to hit the real estate market.



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