The busiest time of the year for home purchases is typically the spring or summer, warmer months when school is out and the weather is nice for moving. Seasonal fluctuations are typical in the home buying and selling markets, but they can perpetuate artificial inflation of homes prices and put buyers at a disadvantage during the spring and summer. In contrast, buying a home in the winter can offer both obvious and hidden benefits.
Lower Housing Prices
Buying a home in the spring or summer also means buying in a seller’s market – when demand goes up, so do prices, and home sellers can expect to raise their prices by thousands of dollars when selling in the late spring. The Canadian housing market typically booms in the spring, with the average house sales price peaking in May. Buying before spring can allow you to move into your new home before price inflation begins.
Motivated House Sellers
Buying a home in the winter can mean access to sellers who are highly motivated. Since there is more demand for houses in the spring and summer, many home sellers will try to hold out and wait to sell when they can set a higher price on their home. Sellers who have their home on the market in the low-demand winter months are often more eager to make a sale – they may be paying an extra mortgage plus homeowners insurance on the house, or have to move for work and need to close quickly, meaning they will be more open to negotiations.
Less Competition and Fewer Bidding Wars
Since many buyers wait until spring or summer to look for a new home, there is less competition to drive up the cost of a house you might be interested in. Fewer homebuyers will be making offers, which means the likelihood of seeing the price of the house you want skyrocket during negotiations is slimmer. Lack of competition means you may even be able to come in with an offer at less than asking and have it accepted.
Reduced Rates for Movers and Contractors
Industries related to the real estate industry also drop off in winter months compared to the summertime, when it can feel almost impossible to find a reputable moving company or a contractor to complete a remodel on a newly purchased home. Buying a home in winter can mean being able to shop around for the best value at the best price, and take advantage of lower or discounted off-season rates for these kinds of services.
Tips for Home Buying in Winter
If you go home shopping in the winter, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Empty homes may have the water turned off, making it harder to spot potential plumbing issues, so ask about home maintenance history and request a comprehensive home inspection.
Landscaping can look completely different in the winter, so request off-season photos of the home.
Factor home insurance into ongoing home costs. Many mortgage companies will not approve a home loan without a plan in place to ensure the investment.
If you are diligent and fortunate, you may find your dream home before the start of the competitive home-selling season and can be settled into your new house before school lets out for the summer. Don’t forget to protect your family, property, and home compare rates today at InsuranceHotline.com for the home insurance coverage you’ll need.