A for-sale sign against a sunny sky

The new prime time for sellers? It’s no longer May 

A report from Zillow found that summer can be the most lucrative time to list, but low inventory means rate fluctuations can “make their own seasonality.”

March 8, 2024
2 minutes

Traditionally, the best time to list a home for sale has been in the spring, when buyers emerge like blooms and bring new life to the housing market.

But like so many things over the past few years, the conventional wisdom has shifted — or so says new research from Zillow.

Before the pandemic and the housing market madness that followed, May had consistently been the sweet spot for sellers. Now, June is the new "best time to list" — meaning most lucrative for sellers, who made 2.3% more in June 2023, according to Zillow. That adds up to about $7,700 for the typical U.S. home.

Why the shift? Elevated mortgage rates, along with rate fluctuations, have been driving the market. Last June saw a dip in mortgage rates — and an opportunity for buyers, who perhaps felt comfortable bidding more boldly.

Zillow predicts this year will follow a similar pattern.

"Now, with persistently low inventory, mortgage rate fluctuations make their own seasonality," researcher Treh Manhertz wrote. "First-time home buyers who are on the edge of qualifying for a home loan may dip in and out of the market, depending on what's happening with rates."

This week saw a jump in mortgage activity as rates ticked down slightly. However, the latest from the Federal Reserve seems to indicate that rate cuts won't come until summer at the earliest, which "could bring another surge of buyers later this year," Manhertz wrote.

"Best" time varies by location: Like so many things in real estate, the best time to sell a home depends on where you are selling.

In San Francisco, the best time to list was, well, last month (sorry). In Philadelphia, early July is the best time to list a home as well as celebrate the birth of our nation. In Atlanta and Pittsburgh, it's the second half of June, and in Minneapolis and Denver, the second half of May.

Selling premiums are all over the map: Increases in sale prices also varied by metro, Zillow found. When things were hottest in San Jose, homes sold for 5.5% more. San Antonio sellers, on the other hand, only got a boost of 1.9%.

Miami came in right at the national average of 2.3%. And the best time to sell there? The first half of June.

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