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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.

Historically, 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 typically at a higher point for the year. September and October are usually the months with an increased number of homes on the market, and then as those homes sell or people begin taking them off the market, inventory decreases.

With the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of homes on the market has stayed much lower than in years’ past. In March of 2020, we saw a significant drop in inventory, and the market still has not gone back to pre-pandemic levels. but, while the numbers are lower, trends have remained the same. As this year progressed and the market slowly and slightly became less competitive for buyers, there was an unseasonable low but slight uptick in the number of price adjustments, which provided a bit of relief overall. Plus, this September and October we saw a small spike in the number of homes on the market. With this being the best Fall to buy in two years due to higher inventory, less aggressive pricing, and lower interest rates, many buyers took advantage. Even with this slight relief, sellers should still be proactive.

As we head into the holiday season, take a second and think about the buyers still currently looking for homes. There is a large pool of buyers who want 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 found the home they wanted 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 2014 – 2021. You can see in September 2019 (week 37) the inventory reached 18,084 homes on the market. 2020, while in an incredibly tight market, still saw a slight fall spike occur that week as well, reaching 11,253 homes on the market. In both years, inventory increased for a few more weeks before falling again through November and December. While inventory is even lower than last year, this year’s spike seems to still have a similar momentum with 9,452 homes on the market. Similar previous years though, it’s beginning to depict a similar downward trend.

Pending Sales Per Week in Previous Years

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 each 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 (UAG), but you may be surprised at how small that decrease is. In September and October 2019 an average of 11.49% of the homes for sale went pending (under agreement) every week and at the same time in 2020, the average almost doubled to 20.31%. This immense increase in the percentage of listed homes compared to the number of pending sales is reflective of the delayed spring market in 2020 due to the log jam that COVID-19 caused. In November and December 2020, an average of 16.6% of homes went pending. That is a decrease of only about 4% compared to the two months prior! If we remove Thanksgiving week and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the average goes up to 17.73% – which brings the average higher than normal. This means that people are buying homes before and during the holidays!

This data shows homes for sale and pending in Massachusetts per week from September to December in 2020:

Pending Sales Per Week This Year

This year, September’s average amount of pending sales per week was 23.34% which is 2.93% higher than the exact same period in 2020 when it was 20.31%. As inventory slightly increased this year, buyers were eating up listed homes, which was similar to what we saw in 2020. With the impacts of the pandemic still lingering and increased buyer activity due to low interest rates, more inventory, and less aggressive pricing, this fall was the best time to buy in two years!

This graph shows homes for sale and pending in Massachusetts per week from the beginning of September to November 13th:

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.

Joselin Malkhasian is a leading REALTOR® with Lamacchia Realty and she shares this story with many of her clients when they bring up the myth about buyers:

“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 and 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 and there is no better gift than the keys to a new home. Throughout the year, the market typically shifts between the buyer’s and seller’s favor. This year though, the market has stayed in the seller’s favor due to the continuous low inventory and high competition. We did see a period this fall where the market was slightly more saturated with homes, as explained in our recent blog, which gave buyers more options and more negotiating power. Low interest rates especially attracted buyers to start their search. As we head into the winter though, that balance will stay seller’s favor, where they will continue to have the upper hand as inventory drops, and buyers must compete for properties.

Hang in there, and if you have any questions about listing in the winter, contact one of our expert REALTORS® and we can help guide you through this process!