Real Estate Myths Debunked: Winter is a Bad Time For Real Estate

Tara Dugan
March 9, 2021
We’ve all heard it. The misconstrued list of reasons why buyers or sellers think winter is a ‘quiet’ time for the real estate market. Real sellers sell, and real buyers buy. Period. 

However, looking at the last three years, both survey data and experts have told a different story regarding winter season home sales. 
In 2018, a survey by NAR showed 63% of people surveyed believe the fourth quarter is a good time to buy a home. 

In 2019, strong demand drove up home prices in the 4th quarter.  Quinton Simmons of the NAR wrote, median single-family home prices increased year-over-year in 94% of measured markets in the fourth quarter. That is up from the 93% share in the third quarter. The national median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $274,900, up 6.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018 ($258,000).”
This year is no different. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, thinks buyer behavior this winter will have “no chill” mortgage applications for home purchases are up about 30% compared to a year ago. Due to the extraordinary demand, home prices have reached an all-time high”. This is further supported by the forecast of a progressive rise in mortgage rates in 2021.

So what does this mean?

Winter is fast approaching and we’re all looking forward to whatever we can this holiday season. With the pandemic still in full swing, people have a deeper appreciation for the value of their home; along with the various features it may or may not have. With many companies planning to work remotely for the foreseeable future and mortgage rates still at record lows, the stage is set for quite a dynamic winter.  

The truth is, amidst the coronavirus, people are still looking to purchase homes regardless of what the seasons entail. Lingyu Liu of The Durkovic Group in California shared via instagram that “the best time to buy is NOW. If you’re an active buyer and have been sitting on the sidelines the past few months, the 4th quarter is the best time to buy. Why? Everyone wants to hold off for the holiday. When spring comes, all the buyers rush out to buy, and again...bidding wars. If you buy now, you have less competition and more negotiating power.” 

Digital to the Rescue

With COVID restrictions on home tours and the challenges of winter driving, how can people take advantage of this opportunity?  Fortunately, there are many services out there that can help.  You can tour buyers via live video using Facetime or Zoom so at least they don’t need to travel, or better yet use the new service Yaza, which makes it simple to record multi-room tours. You can share those multi-room tours directly with buyers from your phone. The advantage there is that you only have to record it once, and then can share it over and over with different buyers, without getting in your car!  It’s a huge time saver and helps your buyers narrow their search more quickly.  Full disclosure: I am affiliated with Yaza, but I would write that even if I weren’t.  I think it's a game-changer.     

In his recent article, ‘GeneratingTrust With Technology: How to Grow Business in a New, Fully Digital World Rick Altizer, CEO of Earnnest, states “digital could be the difference between you or your competition securing the client. It could be that thing you need to grow your business, especially now.” With Real Estate evolving so dynamically everyday, the preexisting notion that winter was a ‘quiet time for real estate’ may be a thing of the past - permanently. With the need for digital tools and services amplified, barriers that established seasonal buyer/seller behaviors are fading quickly. 

Main Reasons to sell Real Estate this Winter

With tools like Yaza out there, there’s really nothing stopping you from taking advantage of a winter sale.  So, should you?  Well, if the expert opinions cited above aren’t convincing enough, here are 12 more reasons from myself and my real estate peers!
  1. Those taking the time to find homes during the winter and holiday season are the most serious buyers. 
  2. Serious buyers have less inventory to choose from. Less competition means the higher the chance of a quick sale and highest price for your home. 
  3. This is the opportune time to capitalize on the value of ‘staging’. The warmth and togetherness brought by holiday decor makes a house feel even more like a home. 
  4. The Holiday Spirit! With many people realizing how much we all have to be grateful for, the upbeat and joyous atmosphere will only aid your efforts. 
  5. Vacation time, but nowhere to go means more flexibility and free time for buyers to view homes (remote & in-person). 
  6. The New Year brings new inventory. Get ahead of the competition. 
  7. Relocations are common around this time, but even more so now. 
  8. Escrow closings can be delayed around Christmas or new years to give you (and the buyer) an extra buffer of time to make your transition easier after the holidays die down. 
  9. If you can get a buyer during this time, it sets you up nicely to have funds more readily available, and be a ‘non-contingent’ purchaser in the spring when inventory levels historically rise, giving you more options as a buyer. 
  10. End of the year bonuses could give buyers the extra push they need to purchase. 
  11. Interest rates remain low, and are predicted to progressively rise through 2021, encouraging buyers to take action sooner than later. 
  12. Some homes need to be purchased before the new year for tax purposes. 

Happy holidays, and happy home-buying! 

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