Bozeman Real Estate - Market Report

Tim Ford

As we get into the fall and winter months, I often chat with people that think winter is not a good time to buy or sell a home. 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.

A quick overview of the data; It includes single family homes both inside and outside of Bozeman city limits, but does not include Belgrade or other surrounding towns. The new listing column shows new listings for the month. The new contract column shows how many homes went pending or under contract that month. This is not the number of closed sales for the month, just the number of times buyers and sellers came to an agreement on the terms of a written contract. It should also be noted that for any given month, there were almost assuredly more homes on the market than is included in the new listing column as there would likely be some inventory carry-over from previous months. As of the date of writing, data is not available for November or December of 2017, so those months are not included.

Based on the percentages, there isn’t consistently a stand out month that is the best month of the year to list in order to sell. Comparing the percentages of new listings versus new contracts, November and December are most often two of the best months, which goes against popular sentiment. While there are definitely fewer accepted contracts written during the colder, winter months, there is also much less competition. However, this doesn’t mean that warmer months aren’t a great time of the year to sell either. The percentages may be slightly lower, but looking at the number of new contracts, it indicates there is simply a larger number of buyers in the market place during the warmer months.

This percentage of new listings versus new contracts is perhaps oversimplifying as it doesn’t take into account price reductions, sales that have failed and come back onto the market, and inventory carryover from previous month’s, but it offers a very simple and quick snapshot into the activity levels of both buyers and sellers.

Perhaps the best answer is to not try to time the market but to make the move when the timing works best for the individual or family. There might be school or work considerations or perhaps one just can’t imagine moving in the winter. Whatever the reasonings, there might be a time of year that works best for someone to put their home up for sale. For buyers, it really helps to put oneself in a position where they are pre-qualified for financing and ready to buy but not in a position where they absolutely need to buy.  

The included data was pulled on 11/13/17 from the Big Sky Country MLS, a subsidiary of the Gallatin Association of REALTORS®  

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