It turns out that Valentine’s Day isn’t the only good thing about February. The spring homebuying season has kicked into gear and it turns out that this month is actually the best month to buy a home. Homebuyers looking for a deal should act fast.
According to data compiled by ATTOM Data Solutions, February is a great month for home buyers, sellers and owners, which translates into it being a better time for home bargains than the so-called “traditional” homebuying seasons of spring and fall. A combination of fewer buyers competing for homes (and the resulting lower home prices) often mean that some of the best homebuying days of the year occur this month.
In these days of low inventory and lots of competition, finding a homebuying edge is even more important. So here’s the full scoop on why February is such a great month to buy a home and what prospective homebuyers should look for.
February discounts on homes
According to the ATTOM data, the month of February had the fewest homes sold compared to the rest of the year over the past 16 years– just over 3 million homes were sold in that month (over 16 years) compared to more than 4 million in most of the other months of the year.
The data shows that those homes that did sell were bought at just over a 6 percent discount. Since 2000, homes sold in February have gone for a median price-per-square-foot (PPSF) of $103.90. Compared to traditionally popular homebuying months like May ($111.10 per square foot) and July ($114.10 per square foot), February homebuyers are getting a bargain.
Lower median prices
With a median sales price of $168,000, homes sold in February are sold, on average, for a lower price, beating the popular summer months by more than $20,000. The median price for a home sold in June was $189,900, while in July it was $190,000. That comes out to a median discount of 7.2 percent compared to the home prices the rest of the year, a substantial savings simply for buying at a different time.
The best day to buy
So February is the best month to buy a home, but which day in February will bring you the biggest bargains? According to the numbers, the top five days to buy a home all year fall in February (7, 4, 5, 12 and 11, in order of the best bargains), and February accounts for eight of the top ten days to buy.
The day offering the biggest bargain, February 7, has a median sales price of $159,000, a 12.1 percent discount compared to the median home price the rest of the year. February 7 also boasts the year’s best price per square foot ($98.40).
But don’t worry if you think you’ve missed out on the best homebuying days of the year. The rest of February has plenty to offer (and if you’re not quite ready to buy yet, there’s plenty of time to prepare for next February).
What to expect when buying in February
Of course, there are reasons why homes tend to go for less money in February and the weather has a lot to do with it, especially in the northern half of the country. It’s not as easy – or enjoyable – to attend open houses in the winter compared to the spring and summer. As a result, fewer buyers are competing in the market and can find great deals.
Sellers can have a tough time of it. Hosting an open house isn’t nearly as easy in the winter – when you have to deal with messes tracked into the home you’re trying to keep spotless and have to find ways to attract buyers who’d rather stay indoors.
If you venture out during February, you’ll benefit from this lull in the market, but you’ll also see fewer homes listed and may need to lower your expectations. Still, if you’re looking for the absolute best home bargain, February is the time to find it.
It’s a shame it’s the shortest month of the year!