Every San Francisco seller wants to know: what is the best time to put my home on the market? To a certain extent, it depends what “best” means to you. Would you rather be competing against many other listings during the most popular home buying periods? Or would you rather put your home on the market when there’s the least competition, but also typically fewer buyers looking?
If you are looking for the most popular selling seasons, you’d want to target the spring or fall. Each has its own distinct feelings and patterns. The spring has a longer, slower run up, but this is typically the season when we see prices get pushed to new highs.
When looking at the chart above, keep in mind that the prices shown represent the months that sales closed; typically, they actually went into contract the month prior. So, for example, May sales figures actually represent homes that went into contract in April.
We have noticed the spring season beginning earlier and earlier. After the holiday doldrums, buyers are eager to jump on new inventory. Putting a home on the market just after the New Year can be a strategic time to catch buyers just as their patience with the relative lack of new listings is beginning to run out. Plus, we don’t have the freezing winter weather that often keeps buyers home in other parts of the country.
Therefore, the “spring” season in San Francisco really starts as early as January or February and runs through May. Coming on any time in that period gives you a strong chance to attract some of the many buyers on the hunt during that time.
The fall season is also popular, but more hurried, as buyers and sellers rush to take advantage of the shorter window after the summer travel season and before the annual holiday slowdown. In fact, September is the month that routinely has the largest number of new listings.
This pattern is particularly true for luxury listings, which are even more impacted by seasonality. Luxury is defined as being $3M and above and sellers often list these homes beginning in March. Buyers and sellers at this price point are more likely to take extensive vacations and other trips out of town during both the summer and the winter holiday seasons.
There are some benefits to coming on the market at a time when the sales cycle is slower, but still active. In the summer, there are plenty of buyers looking and getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of new listings. This could be a good time to make your home stand out amongst fewer and fewer options.
We do not advise going on the market in November or December unless you truly cannot wait. As you can see in the chart below, the selling season in San Francisco really comes to a halt at this time, before springing back to life pretty quickly in the new year.
In the end, the best time to sell is when you are ready. The market can change so quickly—both for the better and for the worse—that it’s not usually worth waiting for a specific season. This is especially true for those who are carrying two mortgages while they wait for that “perfect” time to sell.
If you’re considering buying a home without selling your primary residence consider obtaining a bridge loan.
We are lucky to have a rapidly moving market in San Francisco throughout most of the year, and usually a well-prepared, well-priced home will sell quickly no matter the season.
I’m happy to discuss the pros and cons of your specific situation. Reach out to us! Call us at 415-735-5867 for a no-obligation consultation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about The Krishnan Team and see what we do for our sellers.