When is the Best Time to Buy Real Estate?

Hot Time or Not Time: When to Buy Real Estate

We’ve all heard it: Springtime is best time to buy a home, with most sellers aiming to put properties on the market between April and August. The first two weeks of May consistently show strong sales numbers in the U.S., regardless of region or state. According to data on The Mortgage Reports blog, properties sell faster by 18.5 days and for larger 5.9 percent more money in May than any other month. The question of when to buy, however, is more complex.

So, when is the best time to buy?

Whether you are looking for furnished Philadelphia apartments for sale, luxury condos for sale or a traditional family home for sale, as a buyer, you need to pay attention to affordability, inventory (the number of properties available for purchase on the market) and competition with other purchasers. With these factors in mind, opinions still differ on the best time to buy. Ultimately, the best time for YOU might be any day of the year if the right opportunity presents itself. At Maxwell Realty, we can help you buy or sell your home at any time of year. That said, certain seasonal trends do exist in the Philadelphia real estate market, just like anywhere else. Read on to learn more.


Every day of the year is the right time to buy if the opportunity is in front of you.

I’ve had clients write up offers on New Years Eve, Christmas Eve, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa.

If there’s an opportunity, don’t worry about the day on the calendar, focus on what you want to buy.

There’s always a good day to buy something.

Yes, is Spring season the season? Sure, sort of.

Or, do you want all of that competition, both as a buyer and a seller.

If there’s something in front of you that makes sense, don’t worry what day it is.

Don’t worry at all actually, let me do the worrying for you.

Buy 365 days out of the year.


Winter Wonderland. Some realtors find that the start to the new year brings a strong market for buyers. Depending on geographic region – especially when winter weather comes into play, as it does in Philadelphia real estate – both inventory and competition are reduced in the first two months of the year. In fact, NerdWallet reports that properties purchased in January and February usually cost 9 to 13 percent less than they do in June and August.

See you in September…or October. Early fall is the best time to buy, according to realtor.com: data shows that the week of September 22 is advantageous for buyers, with 26% less competition than other weeks in the year. The week of October 27 is also a good bet for buyers.

Boxing Day is Buying Day. As for a particular day, ATTOM Data Solutions deems December 26 as the best day to buy, with purchasers scoring an average of 1.3 percent discount, equating to savings of $2,500 on this date. Other December dates that offer “holiday discounts” on sales price include December 1, 4, 7, 8, 21, and 29. Interestingly, only three non-December dates appeared on ATTOM’s top ten best days for purchasing real estate: February 9 and November 9 (.03 percent discount) and October 12 (o.5 percent discount).

Buyers Be Aware: Know the Numbers Before You Buy

It’s helpful to know specific months and days that trend in favor of buyers getting great deals on homes and investment property for sale. Smart buyers are also informed on what I call “the numbers” – that is, data on factors that impact the broader real estate market and their own financial situation that can affect their ability to obtain mortgages and financing that is most advantageous to them.

The Market Numbers

Interest Rates and Local Housing Affordability. It doesn’t matter if a buyer wants to purchase a single-family home, luxury condo, loft apartment or investment property – more often than not, that buyer needs to finance the property. Whenever financing is involved, buyers need to know the mortgage interest rate, have a sense of what they want their ideal monthly mortgage payment to be, and how much they want to put down toward a purchase – all of which factor into how much house a buyer can actually afford.

Investment Property Purchasing Power. The 2021 real estate market is predicted to be as hot as 2020. Most lenders will let buyer’s know the sales price they qualify for by running a credit check. Preapproval is close to essential for buyers in the current market. For buyers seeking investment properties like fix and flip or rentals, lending works differently. If you are looking for an investment property, knowing how much you qualify for is even more important, because you’ll use some of your loan to make needed renovations or improvements to your property. Check out a bridge loan provider like LendingHome for a quote.

The Inventory Equation (aka “More is More”). The best deals for buyers happens when the market in a particular area is glutted or has a higher number of properties for sale. More inventory means more options and choices for buyers, which in turn leads to a stronger position from which buyers can negotiate the sales price as well as sellers who are more likely to handle potential repairs on the homes they want to sell. An easy way to remember this number: Buy When Homes Are High.

“Expiration Date.” This refers to median days on market because properties really do have an “expiration date” of sorts: increased days on market gives the impression that there is something wrong with the property; sellers who let their homes sit to the point of stagnation are often more flexible on sales price.

Your Personal Numbers

Beyond affordability, interest rates, competition and the number of houses available on the market, buyers need to consider factors closer to home, so to speak:

Debt versus Emergency Savings. Sometimes buyers qualify for a mortgage but run into a brick wall – or several – over expenses that are debt-related, such as credit cards, car loans and student loan debt. Having little or no revolving debt and a healthy safety net to cover emergency expenses or home repairs is an important factor in purchase plans – especially considering that every year the average homeowner has to complete seven home maintenance projects totaling $1,100.

Saving Up for Paying Down. Depending on your financial situation, taking time to save up a substantial down payment is key to long-range fiscal stability and homeownership.

The Numbers Add Up. It’s a time-tested rule of thumb: your monthly mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 25% of your take-home pay. This number includes the principal, interest, homeowner’s insurance and, if applicable, private mortgage insurance as well as HOA fees.

Your Mortgage Makes Sense – and Cents. Make sure you qualify for the lowest-risk, most cost-effective mortgage, which is a standard 15-year fixed rate loan. Avoid ARMs and other complicated mortgage financing vehicles, if possible.

The bottom line for buyers: Provided the numbers line up and your finances are in order, your plan for purchasing a home can proceed at any time of year. If you find the right property at a good price, it’s always a great time to buy!

For more than three decades, Philadelphia realtor Nancy Alperin of Maxwell Realty has helped clients find luxury apartments and homes as well as Philadelphia investment properties. She knows the city’s neighborhoods and inventory, from Philadelphia center city apartments, Rittenhouse Square apartments for sale, Riverwalk apartments and Washington Square luxury condos to Art Museum area apartments and properties near the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel or Temple,  Nancy knows luxury apartment buildings and condos in Philadelphia. And because every day is a good day to buy – and Maxwell Realty is the go-to Philadelphia real estate agency for luxury properties and client-centered service, Nancy is available year-round to serve buyers.

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