I was meeting with a client this past weekend and the topic came up of when the best time to list is. I think many people correctly understand that spring is probably the best time to list. Especially here in MN, buyers come out from hibernating after the long winter and start thinking about a potential move. Although there are more homes on the market in the spring, there are also significantly more buyers, which drives prices higher than in other seasons. But you may wonder when specifically should you list your home? Should you wait until all the snow melts or after Easter? Or should you try to be towards the early side of spring? I didn’t know anyone who’d actually studied real local data to understand these questions, so I did. I’ll explain what I found out, but first an update on the current market.
Housing inventory is even lower than last year
Remember the spring boom last year? Prices were up 10% year over year in many areas. Many homes were selling within just a few days of being on the market. Well, spring is here again—at least it feels like it as I write this on 2/19—and the market is looking a lot like last year. Monthly inventory continues to be near record lows. The chart below shows monthly inventory. Note that 6 months of inventory is considered a balanced market and anything less than that is considered a seller’s market.
Because the market feels like last spring in terms of low inventory and high demand, I decided to dive into last year’s data to understand exactly when homes listed sold for the most. I extracted all last year’s MLS listings in Hennepin and Dakota counties, and used that information to predict the best time to list to get the maximum sales price. I segmented the data by week listed, and took the median sales prices of those listings to see if there were any patterns. What I found were some clear trends for when houses sold for the most.
March is the new April
Early March is the best time to sell your home for maximum profit. Being towards the front end of the spring price boom will make you more money. Especially in today’s market with our low inventory. In 2016, homes listed in the first week in March had the highest sales prices. From there, home prices continued to be strong until late March, when they dropped about 15K for a few weeks. I think this was largely because Easter was in late March last year. Homes listed prior to a major holiday or event tend to sell for less because they have less buyers out looking during the critical 1st week of marketing. Many people are more likely to be spending time with family during this time rather than checking out houses. After March, sales prices fluctuated a bit, but never made it back to the levels of homes listed in early spring.
This year I expect the highest sales prices of the year to come from early spring listings again. However, I don’t think we’ll see the decrease in late March like last year because Easter is in mid-April this year. You really can’t go wrong listing in March this year.
Now that we know that early spring is the ideal period, what’s the best day and time?
According to a Redfin study, Thursday is the best day to list your home. The study found that homes listed on Thursdays are more likely to sell faster, above list price and for more money on average than comparable homes listed on other days of the week. This is because potential buyers are getting ready to go shopping over the weekend and start scheduling showings.
Getting even more specific with time of day, by listing in the morning you take advantage of maximum days on the market. What I mean is you essentially gain a day by listing first thing in the morning vs. at night. The less days on the market, the more attractive your home is to a buyer.
Now…everyone go list your house on Thursday, March 9th at 5:00am!
While I this may be ideal from a ROI perspective, don’t get anxious if this time-period doesn’t work for you. Ultimately, you need to sell at a time that works best for you and your family, while doing what you can to maximize your profit. I hope you found this information helpful. Let me know if you’re interested in taking the first step to sell your home by finding out what your house is worth!