As summer draws to a close, putting the largest sales volume months in real estate sales behind us, you may be wondering if you have waited too late to put your house on the market and get it sold this year.
While Labor Day traditionally heralds the psychological end of the summer season, it does not usher in the end of real estate transactions for the year. The summer selling season of May, June, July and August are the largest months at 38.3 percent of closed transactions, but don't write off the fall/winter buyers. If we use 2011 as a guide, we should expect to close
31.9 percent of the year's homes between September and December. That is in comparison to 29.8 percent of sales for the first 1/3 of the year.
The summer months are very popular for buyers who have children to move, while their kids are out of school, but this is only one target segment of the market. Take a moment to consider the many reasons real estate transactions take place: people get married and divorced, people downsize and people have babies and need larger homes, people pass away or can no longer live independently and need to liquidate the asset. All of these motivations have nothing to do with the school calendar or the weather temperature.
If we look deeper into the numbers we find that December had the second highest average sold price last year, followed in third place by January.
From this data we can determine that the fall/winter month buyers are not necessarily a lower price point than summer buyers.
Historically there are fewer new homes coming to market in the fall season vs. the spring and summer. While the sales volume is higher in the fall than the spring, September-December are the slowest months of the year for new listings. This slowdown in new product coming on the heels of the biggest sales months translates to less competition on the market. This is a good thing if you are a seller!
If your home is currently on the market or, after reading the last few paragraphs, you have decided to call a Realtor member of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors for a complimentary home analysis, there are a few things to keep in mind. Curb appeal is still very important, so replant your summer annuals with fall flowers and rake the leaves/keep the yard in top-notch shape. A buyer may just rule your home out if it starts to look neglected/poorly cared for.
With interest rates at record lows now is an excellent time to buy or sell real estate in the Greater Chattanooga Area. Contact a Realtor member of GCAR today and see what your house is worth and how long it will take to go from "For sale" to "SOLD!"
Mark Hite is president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors