Window at summer's end: Sometimes, late summer opens a small window of leverage for buyers dealing with sellers of slow-moving family homes, Crawford says. "You usually find that the family core is more important than the extra dollar."
Some sellers can wait you out: Empty nesters and single sellers will always account for some off-peak housing stock, but they're often less motivated to sell quickly, Crawford says.
It's real estate season -- or is it?
Heed noncycle or short-cycle
markets: Parts of Florida, Colorado and California and other
regions of the country that have large resort areas or large numbers
of retirees and semi-retirees don't follow the traditional sale
season. Winter resort areas peak in sales between January and April,
according to agents. In northern climates, the wintry elements can
compress the annual peak seasons more to their warmest-weather months.
Tax timing: It can play a role if you plan to buy late in the year. Determine through a tax preparer if the deductions will better fit in the current or future year. If need be, try to close Dec. 31 rather than Jan. 2, or vice versa. (Be sure you know which items of your closing will be tax-deductible and which will be added to the value of the property.)
Opportunism: While it may sound ghoulish, layoff announcements or a planned corporate headquarters move in some markets can soon result in more homes on the market for the short term with a variety of price points and some motivated sellers. Proceed with sensitivity.
Home-buying "seasonality" can vary from
market to market and may be slowly shifting, say trend trackers.
In recent years, January has seen record or near-record sales for
the month, says National Association of Realtors researcher Walter
Molony. A buyer's market in a city will mean more inventory is available
year-round, while a seller's market, generally driven by local employment
opportunities, can winnow peak seasons significantly
However, most agents agree on the seasonal axiom that homes generally sell for 3 percent more than the annual average during the months of May and June, at or around the average annual price in very early spring and in fall, and then drop 3 percent below the average annual price in December and January.