Quite often, too often in fact, Realtors hear home sellers say that they want to take their home off the market for the holiday season. Their concerns usually stem from the misconception that buyers are not looking during November and December because they’re halting their search for the holidays. In many cases, this is not correct.
For home sellers who list in the late summer and early fall, their home can stay on the market longer than anticipated because the inventory during that time is at a high point for the year. September and October are usually the months with a very high number of homes on the market, and then as those homes sell or people begin taking them off the market, inventory decreases.
But take a second and think about the buyers. There is a large pool of buyers who wanted to buy before the end of the year but have not for the following reasons:
They have had a hard time finding the right home
They have found the home they want and ended up losing it to another bidder
They found the home they wanted but it was overpriced so they didn’t buy it
These folks are still out there looking for a home and are eager and motivated to find a home by the end of the year. These buyers are very dedicated and are the most likely to make serious offers if they’re interested in your home.
Show Me the Facts
If you are skeptical, here are the stats from last year at this time along with this years. You can see in September 2016 the inventory was high reaching 20,814 homes on the market. 2017 exhibited a spike as well because the trends are the same, but the year overall was lower than 2016. 2016 inventory decreased every week until November and December where it goes down by 4-5% each week leading up to the end of the year.
Pending Sales Per Week Last Year
One of the many metrics we track on a weekly basis at Lamacchia Realty is the number of homes that are listed compared to the number of homes that go pending in a given week. It provides us and our clients with very telling data about how active the market is.
Throughout November and December, there is a slight decrease in homes that are going pending, but you may be surprised at how small that decrease actually is. In September and October of 2016, an average of 10% of the homes for sale went pending (under agreement) every week. Then in November and December, an average 8.5% of homes went pending. That is a decrease of only 1.5%! If we remove Thanksgiving week and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the average goes up to 8.97% higher than those fall months. This means that people are buying homes before the holidays!
This data shows homes for sale and pending in Massachusetts per week from September 3rd to December 31st in 2016:
Pending Sales Per Week This Year
We have had less inventory this year than last, but most weeks the homes are moving fast! This year September’s average amount of pending sales per week was 11.7% which is 1.64% higher than the exact same period in 2016. The market will continue to look like this, inventory will decrease and buyers will keep trying to buy! You can see even more about this in our September Housing Report released this week.
This graph shows homes for sale and pending in Massachusetts per week from September 1st to October 14th of 2017:
The Buyers Still Looking in November and December Want a Home!
Year after year home buyers do look for homes during the holidays. Buyers who look during that time tend to be more serious because the casual lookers tend to delay until after the holidays.
“Buyers connect emotionally to homes. They’re looking to create memories for years to come and no better time than around the holidays. I saw my home on December 5th, I immediately envisioned my stockings on the mantel and a Christmas tree in front of the bay window. I put an offer on the home the same day.”
Joselin’s experience is all too familiar. Buyers want a home during the holiday months, there is no better gift than the keys to a new home. The market shifts between buyers and sellers favor. We saw a brief period this fall where the market was more saturated with homes than buyers, as explained in our recent blog, which gave them more options and more negotiating power. In the winter, that balance shifts back into the seller’s favor, where they have the upper hand as inventory drops and buyers have to compete for properties.