When is the Best Time to Buy a House?

December 15, 2022

When looking for a brand-new home, one of the most common questions home buyers have when they begin house hunting is “when is the best time to buy a house?” In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that affect the housing market throughout the year so you can make an informed decision.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a House?

So when exactly is the best time of year for you to buy? The answer is highly subjective and will depend on exactly what you’re looking for in a home. Each season has its pros and cons. For example, some people may want to get the best possible home prices or mortgage rates no matter what, while others may be more concerned with convenience and availability of homes on the market. 

Factors To Consider Before You Start Your House Search

Before you begin your house search, it’s helpful to know what factors could affect your home-buying experience. Knowing how these things work will help you to make the best decisions when it comes to buying a house.

Mortgage Rates

For starters, interest rates will have an impact on the cost of your mortgage loan. Consider how much mortgage you can afford based on your income. This will allow you to time your purchase to take advantage of mortgage rates that benefit you and ensure your mortgage payments are manageable.

Related resource: Historical Mortgage Rates Chart

Home Style and Type

The type of house you’re looking for and the area in which you’re searching will also come into play. If you’re looking for the widest selection, it may be beneficial to try to buy at a time of year when there’s less competition and the real estate market is less saturated.

What’s Your Budget?

You’ll also need to consider your home-buying budget. Home prices will not only affect the price range of the homes you’ll be able to buy but also things like your down payment. Ideally, you’ll want to put down at least 20% for a down payment to avoid having to pay extra for mortgage insurance, but your minimum down payment in most cases would be 5%.

Housing Market

When it comes to your new home purchase, it’s important to understand where the housing market is at. Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? The last thing you want is to get stuck in a bidding war.

What does the housing inventory look like? Lots of inventory will affect the median sale price, bringing it down to compete whereas if there have been a ton of homes sold, it could create higher prices.

How is housing supply in the area? Are homes in specific communities in higher demand, decreasing the supply or is there a higher inventory than demand?

You can get help with these questions with either an experienced real estate agent or a home builder representative. They understand the intricacies of the home buying process and can help get you going on the right track in your new home search.

Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can begin to plan out the perfect season to start your house search!

Related article: Is Now the Right Time to Buy a House in Edmonton?

Buying A House In The Spring

Many people believe that spring is the best time to buy a house since it offers the most options. The buying season usually starts in late February or early March, when new home listings start to increase and sellers become more willing to negotiate. This is also when interest rates on mortgages tend to be lower, giving buyers the potential for lower monthly payments.

The only downside to buying in the spring is that it can be a very competitive market. Since so many people are looking to buy at this time of year, bidding wars may ensue and you could end up paying more than you’d originally planned.

Buying A House In The Summer

The summer months don’t usually have as many new listings on the real estate market as the spring, since many families plan their move for the summer in preparation for the upcoming school year.

But this could be a great time to find deals if you’re willing to look around! There are still plenty of homes available and since competition is slightly lower, prices are more likely to be within your budget.

However, there can be some drawbacks to buying in the summer. Because spring is when most houses go on the market, if you wait until summer you may find that a lot of the most desirable properties have already gone, and competition for the ones that are still available could be more intense.

Additionally, summer is when most people choose to take their vacations so this can further thin out the available selection. 

Buying A House In The Fall

The fall is another good time of year for house hunting. The housing market usually slows down during this season, so there’s less competition for homes and prices tend to be lower than in the springtime. Additionally, interest rates on mortgages are generally lower when there’s less competition.

The only downside is that there may be fewer new listings available since sellers will want to wait until the spring to put their homes on the market. However, if you’re willing to look around and be patient, there can still be some great deals to be found in the fall.

Buying A House In The Winter

The winter months are typically the slowest time of year for home sales, so it may not seem like a great time to buy a house. However, this can be an ideal season; there are some great advantages for buying in the winter! This is especially true for bargain hunters as prices are often lower than in other seasons and there’s less competition from buyers.

Additionally, sellers may be more willing to negotiate since they’re eager to close the sale before the end of the year, which will help you save money instead of having to pay top dollar.

On the downside, winter conditions can make it difficult to inspect a house thoroughly and contractors may be harder to find. This can be even further exacerbated in Edmonton, where we tend to get our most extreme weather during the winter.

Overall, the best time of year for buying a house will depend on your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for the widest selection and you don’t mind the added competition, then spring may be your best bet. However, if you’re willing to wait and search for a bargain, then the fall or winter can offer some great deals. No matter which season you choose, it’s important to do your research and have patience when shopping around for the perfect home. Good luck and happy house hunting!

Originally published July 24, 2018, updated December 15, 2022

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About the Author:

At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.

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