The Santa Slump – Why December Should be the Best Month to Buy a Property
After participating in a few slow open houses in Playa Vista this weekend, it got me thinking, why isn’t home buying more popular in December? While there are obvious reasons why it could be inconvenient to buy in December – shorter days, worse weather, shopping and social obligations, or waiting on year-end bonuses, the failure of more savvy buyers to plan around these things is surprising. Especially, these days, technology has made some parts of the process much more convenient.
Buyers face far less competition in December than any other month, sellers who choose to list their homes at this time are usually serious sellers or the properties have been sitting on the market for a while, so a seller agreeing to a lower offer may not be out of the question. Yearly home appreciation line graphs typically show a slight decline in prices in December, even in the strongest markets. This December we have also seen a recent, but meaningful, dip in interest rates from multi-year highs. People often buy Christmas cards after they go on sale the day after Christmas or plan trips during traditionally slow periods between summer and major holidays, so the reason more people don’t make a point to shop for real estate during the holidays is surprising.
While I won’t hold my breath, I do advise my clients who are flexible on timing and able to buy this month that it is one of the best times to do so. Selling in December can also make sense in certain situations, especially if you expect the market to decline the following year or if your home really shines during the holiday season more than at other times. Taking advantage of a season for the appeal it gives your home is never a bad idea whether it is holiday decor, beautiful flowers, leaves changing colors, or more privacy due to full foliage. Taking advantage of a brief buyer’s market, despite the inconveniences, can lead to savings or grabbing that dream home when your competition is kicking it with Santa.