January 03, 2023
When Is the Right Time to Buy a House?
Is there a best or worst time to buy a house? There are many pieces to the home buying puzzle, such as the state of the housing market, time of the year, and your personal situation. The following are four factors to help you decide.
1. Home buying market conditions
Many factors can affect the housing market as a whole. Supply and demand can drive home prices up and down, creating buyers markets or sellers markets. And if the Federal Reserve has made interest rate adjustments to try to stabilize the economy, mortgage rates can follow suit – further affecting the affordability of homes.
But even a recession doesn’t mean you should hold off on buying a home. There are often pros and cons whether the market is humming or in a downturn. And yet, sometimes there’s no getting around the fact it’s simply not the best year to buy a house.
- Pro tip: Follow the housing market research. Studying housing and market trends and listening to what experts are predicting can get you thinking about the opportunities and drawbacks of buying at a particular time.
2. Local housing market and economy
What’s going on in the city or town you’re considering moving to? Is it an up-and-coming destination with a thriving downtown, a growing job market, and a healthy number of new businesses opening their doors? Or have the coffee shop and boutique window displays been replaced by “For Sale” signs?
Less demand in an area may lead to a better deal on a house, but it could also be a sign of a declining local economy – which could negatively impact your home’s value. The best time to buy is when the economy is on an upswing, but before others take notice – driving prices up. And if your heart is already set on buying in a hot market, there are ways to put your best foot forward.
- Pro tip: The more you can learn about the local economy of your target areas, the more you can zero in on specific regions, towns, and even neighborhoods.
3. Best time of year to buy a house
Seasonal trends in the real estate market are largely driven by consumer habits. Think weather, holidays, and school calendars.
Winter is typically the cheapest time of year to buy a house, while spring and summer build up to peak real estate season with listings, open houses, and competition galore. Fall can create a perfect storm of less competition and motivated sellers – October has been called the best month of the year to buy a house – but options may be sparse.
- Pro tip: Weighing the pros and cons of home buying during each season can help you coordinate market trends with your personal needs.
4. Consider your finances and goals
If all other pieces are in place, it’s time to think through your personal situation. Can you afford to buy a house right now? Do you have a steady income, savings for a down payment, and a favorable credit score?
Are you and your family emotionally ready to pack up your old life and start over in a new location? What events or commitments do you need to work a move around? Be honest about where you are and what you want.
- Pro tip: Sit down to think through the answers to these questions and review your budget. Do the numbers align with your goals?
The right time for you – Are you ready to buy a house?
The truth is, people buy houses every day, in every market condition, season, and stage of life. With so many factors in play, there’s no one perfect situation. The right time to buy a house is when you’re financially and emotionally ready.