With a continuing whirlwind market expected in 2022, it can be hard for sellers to know the optimal time to put a home on the market. But according to Realtor.com’s fourth annual Best Time to Sell Report, the best week to list nationwide this year is April 10-16.
With buyer interest accelerating weeks before the usual start of the Spring buying season, getting a head start on the competition will likely pay off for 2022 sellers, realtor.com suggests. Mortgage rates have been rising more quickly than expected, adding fuel to the fire for buyers hoping to find the right home and lock-in relatively affordable monthly payments. While a high number of home sales are expected throughout the Spring, realtor.com’s “seasonal sweet spot” of April 10-16 to list a home in 2022 is based on the following:
- Surging buyer demand: With buyer activity typically rising heading into Spring, homes added to the market during the same week in 2021 received 29% more views on Realtor.com® than the average week in 2021 and 18.6% more interest than the average home listed in 2018-2021. As a result, sellers who list their homes during April 10-16 may be able to expect more offers and bidding wars, which can result in higher asking prices and a faster sale than later in 2022.
- High home prices: Home prices already broke the 2021 record in February, accelerating earlier in the Spring buying season than in previous years. As a result, sellers who list from April 10-16 could secure asking prices that are 10.9% (+$39,000) higher than at the start of the year and 1.4% (+$5,000) above the average annual listing price, based on 2021 trends.
- Fast-moving homes: So far in 2022, homes have been flying off the market at an increasingly fast pace, reflecting early signs of Spring seasonality. In fact, the year kicked off with the fastest-moving January ever (61 days), followed by even lower time on market in February (47 days). During the week of April 10, homes sold six days more quickly than the 2021 average and nearly a month faster than in 2019 (-27 days), before the onset of COVID.
- Less competition from other sellers: With demand outpacing supply, inventory continues to fall short of previous years, but also reflects regular seasonal patterns. From April 10-16, there were fewer sellers with homes actively listed than in the average week in 2021 (-12.9%). With the number of for-sale home options available to buyers historically rising further into the year, seller competition will increasingly be a key factor to consider.
Key trends for sellers to watch:
Sellers can generally expect to hold the upper hand when the right time for them comes along this Spring, as 2022 buyers have been largely accepting of higher asking prices and quick sales, according to realtor.com. Even so, sellers’ odds of success are greater if they list during April 10-16, compared to later in the year, due to several shifting market dynamics. Some of these include:
- Buyers price sensitivity rises along with mortgage rates: Mortgage rates remained historically low throughout 2021, giving home shoppers more flexibility to meet higher asking prices. However, mortgage rates have jumped significantly since the start of this year and are expected to continue rising, particularly with the Fed planning on an interest rate hike as soon as March. As buyers grapple with higher monthly costs, some may tighten their budgets or take a break from the market, resulting in cooling price trends. For instance, by early May in 2021, the share of sellers making price adjustments2 climbed by 17.8% from the start of the year.
- New supply gives home shoppers more negotiating power: While supply will remain historically low relative to demand in 2022, buyers are expected to have more options later in the year. Builders are accelerating production and will begin to make progress against the new home supply gap. Additionally, new listings trends are improving in line with the typical seasonality, as warmer weather and upcoming summer breaks attract more homeowners into the market. Historically, by mid-August, the number of sellers with actively listed homes increased 17.4% over the beginning of the year, which means more options for buyers and therefore more competition among sellers.
- Sellers also buying face trade-offs: As conditions become more favorable for sellers, those who are also buying face a cart-before-the-horse dilemma: Holding out for peak asking prices on their listing could also mean paying a premium for the home they buy. Listing prices typically reach each year’s highest level in the Summer, as they did in July of 2021. Realtor.com® analysis indicates a similar timeline in 2022, with historical data suggesting home prices will be up double-digits over the start of the year by late May (+12.3%). However, with new sellers historically rising 48.4% over the start of the year by late May, seller-buyers who delay also face more competition from other sellers and the possibility of missing out on buying opportunities.
“Every year, to help sellers better navigate the spring buying season, we take a look at recent market conditions to determine the optimal week to put a home on the market. And that perfect moment is just weeks away for 2022 sellers, with data indicating that home prices and demand are rising earlier than in a typical year,” said realtor.com chief economist, Danielle Hale. “Homeowners who are thinking about selling this Spring still have time to get ready, with the majority of recently surveyed sellers indicating that listing preparations took 2-12 weeks. A good first step when selling your home is to understand your options, and find the best approach based on your family’s needs. This way, you’ll be able to immediately start your listing process as soon as you’re ready. Preparation is especially important this year, since market dynamics could shift quickly along with factors like rising mortgage rates, inflation and the ongoing in Ukraine.”
For more information, visit realtor.com