Home buyers may want to be in the market this week: It’s the time of year with the most favorable conditions for purchasing a property, a new study shows.
Historically, the week of Oct. 1–7 brings the strongest balance of market conditions, with greater home listings, less buyer competition and lower prices compared to other times of the year, according to realtor.com®’s “Best Time to Buy Report.” That’s welcome news for buyers, who have been facing severe inventory and affordability constraints.
However, there remain plenty of market headwinds, such as mortgage rates at a 23-year high. The monthly payment to finance a median-priced home is still more than 20% higher than last year, even with home prices moderating in some markets, says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Mortgage rates continue to be a big wild card for Americans hoping to buy a home,” she says. Yet, “our analysis shows that buying in the fall does give buyers some more predictable advantages that could potentially ease the pain of higher rates and other stressful aspects of the homebuying process, including making fast decisions and bidding wars.”
Realtor.com® predicts 17% more active listings this week than at the beginning of the year. Home buyers this fall could save more than $15,000 compared to this summer’s peak home price of $445,000, realtor.com® says. Buyers also may have more time to make a decision, with homes in many markets taking a week longer to sell than during the peak buying season earlier this year.
Price Reductions and More
The realtor.com® study notes that homes tend to have price reductions Oct. 1–7, typically falling 3.3% compared to the typical season high. Plus, “in several of the largest housing markets around the country, home prices during the ‘best week to buy’ can dip more than 10% below their peak price earlier in the year, potentially saving buyers tens of thousands of dollars,” researchers say.
Home buyers likely will have more options to choose from this fall than in the summer, but they will continue to face limited inventory. The National Association of REALTORS® has reported ongoing housing shortages plaguing many markets. Still, realtor.com® projects about 12% more active listings for this week than the average week of the year based on seasonal inventory trends.
Home buyers also can expect less competition, realtor.com® notes. This summer, many markets saw a return to multiple-offer situations. NAR data shows that homes listed in August received an average of three offers. “While there may still be more competition than pre-pandemic, buyers can expect demand to be 18.7% lower than peak buying periods in 2023 and 13.5% lower than the average week,” researchers note.