Fall is arguably the best time of year for many reasons. The weather becomes cooler, the leaves begin to change, football season begins, and pumpkin-flavored everything is in abundant supply. But there's another great reason to love fall that might be less obvious...it's the best time of year to purchase a home.
Prices Are Typically Lower
The concept that buyers can get a better bang for their buck in the fall has been a popular notion for some time, but two recent reports validated that line of thought with data from actual home sales. According to a 2015 report by RealtyTrac, sales prices are typically 2.6% below fair market value during October — a steeper discount than any other month of the year. Another report by NerdWallet found that sales prices drop about 2.96% from summer to fall, which is roughly an $8,300 discount for the median home. It's also worth noting that while listing prices don't decrease much, sales prices do, and that's the price that counts for potential buyers.
There's Less Competition
The majority of people buy a home in spring or summer, when inventory is traditionally high. This gives families time to make their move before the school year starts, but the tradeoff is that buyers are faced with strong competition and often pay higher than asking price during that time. People who buy in fall, however, have less competition, and sellers are more motivated. This means more negotiating power for the buyer, which often results in a better deal.
There's Still Inventory
It's true that the inventory of homes for sale is at its peak during spring and summer, but when you buy in the fall, there's still a decent supply of homes left to choose from. While it could be argued that buyers could get an even better deal if they wait 'til winter, by that time, it'll be slim pickings. Buying a home in the fall gives you the best of both worlds — lower prices and less competition but still enough inventory to find the home you want.
If you're serious about buying a home, doing so this fall may save you money or help you afford more than you expect. Plus, with interest rates on the rise, the longer you wait, the less buying power you may have. Click here to learn more about the impact that rising interest rates has on affordability.