A family stands outside their new home, with a calendar showing the month of October in the background.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Get your buyers ready: The best time to buy a house is… 

Forget the spring and summer rush — home shoppers will have better luck making a deal during the first week of October, according to Realtor.com.

September 20, 2023
3 minutes

This year has been a challenging one for homebuyers. Prices are high, inventory is low, and mortgage rates just aren't budging. 

But in recent weeks, more houses are seeing price drops and days on market have increased, which presents an opening for fatigued buyers to get back into the market and get a home under contract. 

According to a Realtor.com report which compares this year's unique market to typical seasonal buying trends, the first week of October is the best time to buy a house in 2023 — so buyers should get pre-approved and be ready to act.

Why October? "This week historically has shown the best balance of market conditions that favor buyers," Realtor.com researchers wrote. "Inventory tends to be high, prices are below peak levels, demand is waning, and the pace of the market slows to a more manageable speed." During this short window, the seasonality of real estate may favor buyers — especially as the number of listings has finally started to increase and sellers are beginning to price their homes accordingly. 

There's also less competition. A seasonal slowdown means there are fewer buyers competing for the available homes on the market, the report also suggests. High mortgage rates and high prices in hot markets might also reduce the buyer pool as affordability remains an issue for many. "Historically, during the Best Week to Buy, demand is 18.7% lower than the peak, and 13.5% lower than the average week," the report reads.

What about less seasonally driven markets? The report notes that the "best week to buy" can vary among individual metros. For instance, in Miami, where the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees, the best time for buyers to score a home is right after the holidays during the week of January 8. Buyers in Phoenix have their best opportunity in early November, while prospective buyers in Las Vegas should get serious about shopping for a home in mid-October. 

Budget-conscious buyers will have to be flexible. Mortgage rates aren't likely to fall significantly in the foreseeable future, meaning buyers should be prepared to qualify for a mortgage in the 6-7% range in the coming weeks. However, there could be even better opportunities for price drops if buyers hold out a little longer: "If low home prices are your chief priority, consider waiting until a bit later into the fall, as home prices tend to come down as the holidays approach."

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