Every year at about this time, I am often asked by home owners if it is prudent to put their house on the market during the holidays, or if they should wait until after the first of the year. It's true that February and March produce the highest amount of home sales, but when you compare the percentage of sales to the total number of new properties that come onto the market, November and December have the best exposure ratio of any other months of the year.
The key to this analysis is understanding the real estate definition for “new on the market.” New on the market refers only to the first thirty days that a home is on the market. It is commonly known that this period of time is the most crucial for any home. The reason for this is that new properties receive the most exposure during the first thirty days, so there is a greater chance of making a sale.
The real estate industry measures home sales throughout the year and one of the ways they do this is by using an indicator that measures the percentage of sales to the total number of new properties on the market. November and December have an indicator that is 75% higher than the rest of the year. In other words, these two months have the highest amount of sales relative to the number of new homes that are listed on the market.
What this means for the home seller is that if they list their home during November or December, they have a much greater potential for exposure within the first thirty days, than they do during the rest of the year.
A large part of what contributes to this high rate of exposure is that there are fewer homes listed during November and December, resulting in fewer “new on the market” properties. In other words, there is not as much competition for sales, so your home has the potential to receive much more exposure than it would during the spring and summer months when there are significantly more homes on the market.
Another factor to consider is that the holidays can showcase a home's charm and features in a very beneficial way. Many homes decorate for the holidays and the added enhancements can have a very positive effect on a potential buyer.
It is true that the months following New Year's are traditionally the most productive for the real estate market and many agents will encourage you to sell your home during that time. However, it is a common misconception that the holiday months are an unproductive time to sell because it can actually be a very advantageous time for a home seller. So, to all those people who have asked me if it's ok to sell a home during November and December, my answer is unequivocally—yes.