"Given the time it takes from listing to close, putting a home on the market in early April positions sellers to attract buyers seeking to close and move before the beginning of school year," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.
The number of buyers jumps dramatically in April, but the number of listings doesn't peak until a little later, so there is less seller competition. The average list price in June is higher than April, again as larger family homes are being listed during school vacations, but there are fewer buyers, which increases the chance for a price reduction, although not by much. Homes listed in June are 1 percent more likely to see a price reduction and garner 2 percent fewer online views on average than the rest of the year.
If next week was already a great week to list, the steep drop in mortgage rates that started last week is only making it better. Buyers now have a little bit more purchasing power. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen more than a quarter of a percentage point in the last week and is nearly a full point lower than the recent peak last November. Every quarter-point drop knocks about $50 off the monthly payment on a $300,000 mortgage.
Of course all real estate is local, and locality can impact timing. The best time to list in New York, Chicago and Dallas is March 31, according to realtor.com. In Atlanta and Seattle, it's April 7. In Los Angeles and Boston, it's April 14. In Phoenix and Tampa, it's early June.
And not everyone agrees. Researchers at Zillow, a competitor of realtor.com, claim the first two weeks in May are the best nationally. They add that homes listed on Saturdays get the most page views, although most real estate agents will tell you Thursday is when most people are trolling online, planning their weekend house hunts.
"Sellers time their listings to optimize their sale in all sorts of ways," said Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research and outreach. "Some need to time the sale just right to manage their own synchronized home purchase. Others are seeking to get the highest sale price possible."
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