Bozeman Real Estate Report: December
by Tim Ford
As we move into the winter months; skiers are sharpening their edges, some folks are attempting to untangle their huge knot of Christmas lights, and many children have already lost at least one mitten that was supposed to last until March. This is also the time of the year that people start to ask me if the holidays or the winter are a bad time of year to list a home for sale.
For the past few years, I’ve been analyzing the number of contracts versus the number of new listings during each month of the year to try to see if that is the case. The data is very interesting.
In the included data, the New Listings column includes the number of homes that were listed during that month. Big note here, that column is not the total number of homes on the market during that month, and that is perhaps the weak point of this study. There were assuredly more homes that were on the market during those months in addition to the new listings. The New Contracts column includes the number of homes that went pending that month. This is not the number of homes that sold or closed, simply the number of times that buyers and sellers came to a written agreement to Buy and Sell. I feel this number is more pertinent than the number of closed sales as it indicates the activity level of buyers during that month.
Looking at the numbers, there are pros and cons to all seasons. There are certainly more contracts written during the spring and summer months, but there is also more new competition. Winter has less competition, but also fewer buyers in the marketplace. Comparing the percentages of new listings versus new contracts; the 4th quarter has the highest percentages, which goes against popular sentiment.
This study doesn’t take into account price reductions, sales that have terminated and come back onto the market, and inventory carryover from previous months, but it offers a very quick and easy look into buyers and seller’s activity levels.
Perhaps the lesson to take from the data is to make the move when the timing works for the individual or family. Some people can’t fathom moving in the winter. Others may have to move due to a job transfer. Maybe a new home has just hit the market that is exactly what someone has been looking for. A big plus for listing homes during the winter is the general lack of tire kickers. If someone is looking at a home on a blustery winter day, they’re usually a serious buyer. As I’ve often written, my best advice for buyers is to get pre-approved and in a position where they’re ready to buy, but don’t have to buy.
The included data was pulled on 11/15/18 from the Big Sky Country MLS, a subsidiary of the Gallatin Association of REALTORS®