"With 3 percent fewer homes on the market than last year, 2017 is shaping up to be another competitive buying season," said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. "Many homebuyers who started looking for homes in the early spring will still be searching for their dream home months later. By May, some buyers may be anxious to get settled into a new home — and will be more willing to pay a premium to close the deal."
In other words, desperate times translate into higher offers.
Of course, as with everything real estate, certain markets have different "best time to sell" dates. Washington and Atlanta homes move fastest in the first two weeks of April. Boston, Phoenix and Los Angeles homes are hottest during the second two weeks of April. For sellers in Detroit, Pittsburgh and much of Florida, getting the house listed early, in March, will result in the fastest sale.
"In colder climates like Boston, Chicago and Seattle, buyer interest tends to spike a bit later in the summer; in warmer areas like Miami, Tampa and Phoenix, the best time to list comes earlier in the spring," said Gudell. "Typically, sellers in climates without distinct seasons will find themselves with more flexibility in list time frame, as these markets show little variation in sale price based on listing month."
Of course, some agents think the heavy competition in spring might make other seasons a better bet for sellers.
"Higher spring inventory brings out many more buyers and creates a lot of buzz and activity," said Ben Hirsh, an Atlanta area real estate agent. "However, the higher inventory during those same months can mean there is a lot more competition from other sellers competing for buyers' attention."
Researchers at Zillow also said homes listed on Saturdays garner the most views, but at real estate brokerage Redfin, Thursday is the going theory for getting the most eyeballs. Redfin says more people preparing for weekend open houses start looking on Thursday and are already out shopping by Saturday.