Is it smart to buy a home with school back in session?
With temperatures on the decline and daylight growing shorter by the minute, vacations of fun in the sun are in the rearview mirror. Parents are back into working mode and kids are getting settled into their homework, tests and other school-related activities.
Summer is an ideal time for homeowners to enter the housing market because it affords them the flexibility needed to adjust to a new location - something that's particularly helpful for parents whose kids are in elementary, junior or high school. But just because your son or daughter is hitting the books again doesn't mean you have to stop your search for your dream home.
Here are a few of the reasons why it pays to be in the market even when schools are back in session.
Just about every study concludes that when the spring and summer turn to fall and winter, it isn't just the temperatures that wind down - so does buyer volume. According to the most recent figures from the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales in September fell 3.4 percent from August.
Mor Zucker, a Denver, Colorado-based real estate agent, told Realtor.com that when home-seeking traffic slows, asking prices frequently follow, appealing to people looking to buy on a budget.
"No matter how hot a market is, you'll still see price reductions and more inventory staying on
the market longer from September through December," Zucker explained.
Additionally, houses tend to stay on the market for longer periods of time, giving would-be buyers more time to consider their options without having to rush into a decision before a competitor makes theirs.
Indeed, the average listing in September 2018 (32) nationwide remained available for three full days longer than it did in August (29), the NAR sales report noted. These most recent findings are reflective of home sales figures in previous years when summer transitions to fall.
More options to choose from
One of the reasons why home prices are higher is due to supply and demand: People are buying at a clip that's faster than builders are developing and people are selling. But the market changes from September through the end of the year to one that's more favorable to buyers.
As of October 2018, unsold inventory is the equivalent of approximately 4.4 months, according to NAR's analysis. This means that it would take approximately four and a half months for supply to be exhausted were no other properties put up for sale. That's up from 4.2 months in September 2017 and 4.3 months in August 2018.
A house's dimensions, price and history are a few of the aspects buyers take into consideration before deciding what place to purchase. They also want to get an idea of what the neighborhood sounds or looks like, something that may be difficult to determine with preciseness in the summertime when families are out of pocket and on vacation.
Provides more accurate depiction of what's 'normal' for foot traffic
Routines change in the summertime. The people there in June, July and August may be gone when the temperatures fall and the leaves change color. Buying when classes resume can give you a more accurate sense of what a neighborhood is like in terms of composition and day-to-day activities.
Bottom line: Just because school has resumed doesn't mean your home buying excursions should end. Shopping over the next few months may help you find the house you've been waiting for at a price that you can afford.