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The best time of the year to buy real estate is…

by Winston Westbrook on October 12, 2009 · 8 comments


I get asked the following question from time to time:
Winston what is the best time of the year to buy or invest in real estate? 

I have been in real estate sales and finance since 1995 and I would usually say that towards the end of the year was the best time of the year to purchase a property. Why do I say this?

  • Less competition
  • Less competition
  • Less competition

I never had the hard stats to prove it but you could just get a feel for it based on market conditions. Towards the end of the year I would get less activity from:

  • advertisements
  • listings
  • referrals
  • etc etc

I got to thinking and so I came across this section in Google called Google Trends. Google Trends lets you see what people are searching for over a selected period of time. I found an interesting trend for the search for “real estate” in the United States.

Analyzing “Real Estate” Trends on Google

As you can see in the graph below I did a search for the term “Real Estate”. Since 2004 till present you can see a pattern in the way people search for real estate. You can see that right around October it really starts to wane off till it bottoms out around the holidays. Then right immediately after the holidays it spikes straight up.

real estate search google trend

You can see in the graph below for 2008 how around October it wanes off until after the holidays then pow!

2008 real estate google search trends

Same thing for the graph below in 2007. Not so much of a spike but the rise is there after the holidays.

2007 real estate google trend

2006 saw the same thing of a drop from October then a spike after the holidays.

2006 real estate google trend

Based on my observation it is safe to say that the best time of the year to be out there searching for a home to purchase for yourself or to invest is:

  • October
  • November
  • December 1-25

Your offers are more likely to be accepted because of less people out there making offers. Take advantage of the fact that everyone is tied up with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah. While they worry about the holidays you are out there mining the field clean.

Good luck in all you do America!

P.s. So when is the best day of the year to list a house?  Dec 26 :)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve October 12, 2009 at 11:05 am

Most people with kids do not want to move over Christmas and the holidays, if they can control it. They would like to move in the summer so they do not have to interrupt their kids school patterns.
.-= Steve´s last blog ..First Offer on House #17 =-.


Ramazan ACAR October 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

very helpful. really thanks


Joshua Dorkin October 12, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Interesting thoughts, Winston. Google trends is a great tool for analyzing behavior, and it is certainly evident that there is absolutely a downward trend at the end of the year in searches for “real estate.”

I’d be curious to see if there are other data to support this one piece of evidence.


JimDuncan October 12, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Anecdotally, this is absolutely true. The sellers who are sticking out the holidays typically need to sell and the buyers who are looking in early January for example, are serious, usually very qualified buyers …


Winston Westbrook October 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

@Steve, Yes you are correct. That is why it’s the best time to go house hunting in the 4th quarter of the year. Less families looking to move at this time.
@Ramazan ACAR, You’re welcome. Glad I could help.
@Joshua, Yeah Google can be very useful if you do a little digging around. I like to look in their lab section to see what new programs they are working on. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 follow up with some MLS data as well. Maybe I can see if I can get some Supra Lockbox data to see how many houses were shown in a giving period.


Dave Sharp October 14, 2009 at 10:39 am

The holidays are always a nice and quiet time to hunt for property, particularly when there is snow on the ground.


Winston Westbrook October 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm

@Dave, Thanks for commenting. Get those snow shoes dusted, lol.


ROBERT October 19, 2009 at 2:15 am

Outstanding info, but I think that an investor might be wise to incorporate “holding costs”into their thinking as well…since buyers don’t/won’t be moving for “the next couple of months”while you are buying.


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