- An increasing number of buyers are purchasing homes in the fall and winter, Opendoor found.
- Remote work and higher housing costs are likely driving the shift to the “anytime buyer.”
- If the housing market normalizes, home buying could shift back to spring and summer, an expert said.
The longstanding belief that spring and summer are the best seasons for homeselling is no longer true.
A recent study from Opendoor found that the fall and winter months have become popular with home sellers. The real-estate company analyzed housing data from 2017 to 2022 and discovered that demand from buyers has increased substantially during the fall since 2020.
In recent years, the rise of remote work and digital schooling have challenged traditional norms of homeownership. As more Americans have the freedom to choose where they want to live and study, homebuying timelines are changing. Higher housing costs and limited housing supply have also prompted prospective buyers to act quickly when favorable deals arise. Despite a slump in the housing market, it’s positive news for both sellers and buyers — demand still exists.
Opendoor’s data shows that in 2018 and 2019, the number of visits from summer to fall for homes listed with the company decreased by 34% and 15%, respectively. But by 2020 — a time in which rock-bottom mortgage interest rates led to a homebuying bonanza — there was a 12% increase in visits. By 2021 and 2022, there was no decline in buyer interest between the two seasons.
Amit Arora, vice president of investments at Opendoor, told Insider that the trend of purchasing homes outside of typical homebuying seasons is particularly strong among young Americans, a demographic more inclined to engage in remote work.
“There’s a growing number of millennial and Gen Z buyers that have become digital native,” Arora said. “A job move can happen at any time of year. Given that we’re at multi-decade lows in housing inventory, these buyers always have to be on to catch a deal.”
Jonathan Miller, a real-estate appraiser that also publishes monthly housing reports for Douglas Elliman Real Estate, affirms that more buyers are purchasing homes outside of the spring and summer months, but that he believes the trend will likely fade as the housing market normalizes.
“The housing market has gone through a period of distortion caused by mortgage rates being kept too low for too long,” he told Insider. “The resulting frenzy obliterated supply, which has created some temporary behavior among buyers and sellers.”
“Due to minimal inventory, consumers are jumping on listings with less regard to the time of year,” he added. “But as we move further away from the pandemic, I think this will dissipate over time.”
To determine the change in homebuyer demand in the summer compared to the fall, Opendoor calculated the average daily in-person visits each of its listings received from their agents. The company also examined MLS data for homes that were listed between January 2021 and December 2022 in more than 50 markets within its buying criteria when determining the percentage of homes delisted in the summer compared to the fall.
According to the company, from 2017 to 2022, an average of 70% of annual residential home transactions took place by August. But with an average of 5 million home transactions per year across the US, that equates to about 1.5 million people still moving in the fall and winter months.
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