Real Estate Sales by Month Chart

Real Estate Seasonality: How Seasons Affect the Market

It’s well known that the housing market is constantly fluctuating throughout the months and years, but knowing why this happens can be confusing. Whether you’re interested in the best month to sell a house or, equally as important, the worst month to sell a house, it is crucial to understand the forces that cause the difference. Believe it or not, the seasons play a big role in the housing market and we have all of the information on how this phenomenon works. Read below to learn more about real estate seasonality and how to properly navigate the housing market throughout the year.

Know Your Local Real Estate Market


Seasonality in the housing market can either help you or hurt you, depending on what moves you make at which time. To be on the winning side of this seasonal trend, you must know your local real estate market – the best months to sell a house and the worst months to sell a house may vary depending on the area you service. The best option is to research and study real estate data that is easily available to you online. By learning the unique characteristics of your area, you can better service your clients by understanding how seasonality plays a role in your town.

The most basic piece of information that you need to understand is that seasonality varies from one location to the next and each market has its own nuance. For example, many hot-weather destinations like Florida and Arizona experience a snowbird effect during the winter. Because the weather in these locations tends to be warmer than most during the winter season, you see an influx of people from colder regions moving there to either relocate or buy a second home.

On the other hand, cold-climate places like Colorado face the opposite effect. Seasonality affects their housing market negatively by slowing down the rate of home sales. No matter which region you service, make sure to have a firm grasp of your individual housing market to ensure your clients are happy.


Home During Worst Month to Sell a House

Key Factors That Affect Seasonality in the Housing Market

As mentioned above, one of the most turbulent changes that affects the seasonality of the real estate market is weather. Although it may sound like it, seasonality isn’t exclusive to weather patterns. In fact, there are a variety of nationwide factors that play a part in influencing the supply and demand of any given real estate market.

The School Year

One significant subset of buyers and sellers is families with children. Typically, parents don’t move their family across the country in the middle of the school year. They wait until it’s over because they have more free time and their kids can start their new school year right on schedule. This seasonal condition impacts when families will most likely be looking to buy or sell, and can make for some of the best and worst months to sell a house.

In fact, 91% of home buyers with children consider school boundaries important to their home search. On top of that, 73% of home buyers, with or without children, say school boundaries are a large factor when it comes to home buying. While some families may be shopping for homes in great districts for their children, others may be trying to shop away from school attendance zones to avoid higher taxes and younger demographics.

To see if your particular area will be affected by this type of seasonality, look into the schools, school attendance zones, and school districts that may impact sales, along with the demographics of current residents. Be aware that school data can frequently change, so it is important to stay up-to-date on any potential shifts in the market.

The Holidays

From inclement weather conditions and family obligations to hectic holiday errands, very few people want to buy or sell homes during the holiday season. This explains why the period between November and January slows down when it comes to supply and demand of the housing market. While a simple reason for real estate seasonality, it’s certainly an understandable one!

Housing Market Seasonality when Buying


After considering weather and the other factors that affect the housing market, it can be argued that the busiest time of the year is during the months of May, June, July, and August. Because more people are buying houses during the summer than in winter, buyers face limited numbers of available houses, raised prices, and more competition across the board. In more plain terms, summer is a horrible season to buy in, while winter is a fabulous time as there is less demand. Less demand means you not only have a better chance at negotiating a good deal, but you also don’t have to worry about stressful bidding wars and excessive competition with other buyers.


Home During Best Month to Sell a House

Housing Market Seasonality when Selling


In an ideal world, housing market seasonality is a full-proof trend that’s always in your favor as long as you buy during the best time in winter and sell during the best time in summer). Unfortunately, the real world scenario isn’t usually as simple as this. When your client is selling, they’re most likely buying as well. While you can generally figure out the best month to sell a house – between the months of May and August – you also need to be aware of your client’s next steps in buying a home.

If your client doesn’t immediately need the money from selling their home to go into the purchase of their next, then buying in the winter, setting up a short-term living arrangement – whether that be leasing, temporarily moving in with others or something else – and then selling in the spring is a smart solution to maximize the trade between what you’re selling and what you’re buying.

Whether you’re researching the best month to sell a house or the worst month to sell a house, seasonality is a crucial factor to consider. Know your market, understand the elements that drive the seasonality phenomenon, and for even more information, consult real estate data to further back your research. The fluctuation that comes with the seasons is extremely advantageous and full of potential gain, you just need the information to navigate its waves like a pro. 

To get a better feel for the seasonality of the housing market and what the year ahead holds, make sure to read through our 2020 housing market predictions to get all the insights you will need to make the most profitable buying and selling decisions.