Late sum­mer can yield more in­ven­tory and bar­gains

The Dallas Morning News - - DFW REAL ESTATE FINDER -

Con­ven­tional real es­tate wis­dom holds that the prime pe­riod in which to pe­ruse for and pur­chase a home is the spring. But fresh re­search sug­gests that there’s an even sweeter spot on the cal­en­dar: the month of Au­gust.

A new anal­y­sis by Zil­low in­di­cates there are more homes for sale near the end of sum­mer than at any other point in the year, pro­vid­ing a wider selec­tion of in­ven­tory and a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to score a bar­gain.

Con­sider that, in Au­gust 2016, there were more for-sale list­ings in most ma­jor mar­kets than any other month last year (8,000 more in Au­gust ver­sus April 2016 in Los An­ge­les alone, for ex­am­ple). More­over, the eighth month of the year has more price cuts: More than 15 per­cent of all list­ings last Au­gust had re­duced prices com­pared to only 12.6 per­cent in March.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, early to mid-spring is thought of as the prime home shop­ping sea­son, so it was some­what coun­ter­in­tu­itive to see that late sum­mer ac­tu­ally of­fers a lot of in­ven­tory to choose from and some­times bet­ter prices,” said Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief econ­o­mist for Seat­tle-head­quar­tered Zil­low.

In the spring, she added, shop­pers rush to the mar­ket and can get caught up in bid­ding wars.

“But by the time fall nears, sell­ers are feel­ing the pres­sure and are more likely to con­sider a price cut in or­der to sell their homes,” Gudell said. “And many buy­ers also want to be done with the home­buy­ing process by late sum­mer so they can set­tle their kids in for the new school year.”

Elizabeth Con­very, founder of Very Real Es­tate in Philadel­phia, con­curs, not­ing that many sell­ers hold back new list­ings un­til the start of the fall sea­son, which gen­er­ally kicks off right af­ter La­bor Day.

“This gap sea­son in late sum­mer is ripe for find­ing a deal for buy­ers who aren’t will­ing to rest. The in­ven­tory avail­able in Au­gust gen­er­ally in­cludes homes that were put on the mar­ket in the spring and didn’t sell be­cause they were ei­ther over­priced or the pend­ing deal fell out of con­tract,” Con­very said. “Sell­ers of these homes are ea­ger to move them be­fore the new in­ven­tory hits the mar­ket in the fall.”

Beth Git­tle­man, as­so­ciate bro­ker with New York City-based Bo­hemia Re­alty Group, said there’s an ad­di­tional rea­son why Au­gust bodes well for wouldbe buy­ers.

“At the end of sum­mer, peo­ple are get­ting in last sum­mer va­ca­tions and, if the heat is hearty, they’re feel­ing less mo­ti­vated to get out in the field and look at prop­er­ties when stay­ing at home in air con­di­tion­ing seems more ap­peal­ing,” Git­tle­man said.

To cap­i­tal­ize on this lim­ited cal­en­dar of op­por­tu­nity, ex­perts rec­om­mend act­ing fast.

“Buy­ers should have their fi­nan­cial set, get pre-ap­proved for a loan and be pre­pared to make an of­fer quickly,” Gudell said.

En­list­ing the aid of a pro also is cru­cial.

“It’s im­por­tant to en­gage a real es­tate agent from day one,” Con­very said. “Some­one who not only knows the mar­ket well but also can ad­vise you on the specifics of your pur­chase needs.”

Keep in mind, how­ever, that even though sup­ply may creep up and prices creep down in Au­gust, you may not land the home of your dreams with per­fect tim­ing.

“In­ven­tory re­mains lim­ited com­pared with pre­vi­ous years, so there will still be com­pe­ti­tion from other po­ten­tial buy­ers,” Gudell noted.

In other words, ex­er­cise pa­tience and smart judg­ment. If you can’t find the right deal be­fore au­tumn ar­rives, don’t beat your­self up about it.

“Be pre­pared, plan ahead, and as­sem­ble the best team you can to sup­port the pur­chas­ing process. If you have flex­i­bil­ity, stay on plan and wait for some­thing bet­ter to come along later,” Git­tle­man said. “If you don’t have the time or flex­i­bil­ity, then buy a prop­erty that doesn’t make you house poor.”

Erik J. Martin, CTW Fea­tures

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