Wait ‘Till Next Year Spring!”

A lot of prospective Minnesota home sellers are weighing that decision right now.

Of course, many don’t have a choice:  a new job, bigger/smaller family, or health issues may be forcing them to make a change, now.

Other Sellers have so much prep to do that, realistically, a Spring debut makes more sense.

However, for Sellers who truly have discretion, here’s the analysis that I think applies.

Pro’s and Con’s

First, let’s dispense with the first — and unanswerable — question:  when will the market be better, now or in six months?

I don’t know — and neither does anyone else who’s remotely savvy about the economy, housing and financial markets, etc.

Of course, that presumes that there’s one national or even local housing market.

In fact, to a knowledgeable local Realtor, the Twin Cities housing market is comprised of at least 90 sub-markets — each with their own, unique supply-and-demand dynamics and attendant price fluctuations.

What does that leave?

Predictable, seasonal patterns uniquely associated with the Twin Cities housing market.

Housing Market Seasonality

Such as:

–the Twin Cities housing market noticeably accelerates after Labor Day, and stays busy the next 6-8 weeks.

After that, depending on weather, it dramatically decelerates heading into the Holidays, and the depth of Minnesota(!) winter, bottoming in mid-late January.

–“Holiday Market” Buyers are characterized by a “quality over quantity” phenomenon — that is, there are fewer of them, but the ones out there are typically more motivated.

There are also a disproportionate number of relocation Buyers active then, who typically are both:  a) on a strict — and short — deadline; b) executives who gravitate towards more expensive properties.

–For Buyers, Fall presents the best bargains — albeit against a backdrop of narrower choices.

Sellers whose homes have been on since Spring know that they must now get real on their asking price, or miss out.

New, Fall Sellers know that they are competing against this marked-down inventory, and, if they’re smart, price accordingly.

Both of those conditions spell opportunity for Buyers.

Moving “Up Market” or “Down Market”

But what if the Buyer must first Sell?

It depends on whether they’re moving “up market” or “down market.”

Someone who’s selling a smaller home and buying a bigger one will come out ahead proceeding now.

That’s because, while they may get $180k instead of $200k for what they currently have, they might be able to pay $425k instead of $500k for their next home.

Hmmm. . . lose $20k, save $75k — works for me!

Of course, the math works the other way for downsizers.

Ultimately, making a housing move comes down to a mix of market and personal factors.

Given all the unknowables, sometimes, the best time to make a move is simply when it feels right . . .

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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