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Selling Your Home This Year? Here’s When to List it for the Greatest Reward

Homes are selling fast year-round, but homes listed in the spring command the highest sale prices nationwide

  • Homes listed for sale in the second half of April can expect to sell for 2.8% more, or about $9,300 on the typical U.S. home. 
  • The first two weeks of November are the worst time to list a home, associated with a 3.5% discount. 
  • The potential price difference between the best and worst times to list is 68% higher than it was before the pandemic. 

Nationwide, a Thursday during the second half of April is the best time to list a home for sale, according to a Zillow. Homes listed during those weeks can expect to fetch 2.8% more, or about $9,300 on the typical U.S. home. And homes listed on any Thursday, when shoppers are planning for weekend showings, can sell for about $1,100 more. 

The pandemic-era housing market barely resembles the one from two years ago, with sky-high demand and record-low inventory driving intense competition for homes. Homes are selling fast year-round, with a difference of only a few days between the fastest and slowest periods. But one thing that’s remained constant: Listing a home for sale in the spring will yield the best results. 

The potential price benefit from listing at the right time has grown as home values have increased. Listing during the best or worst times of the year can impact a sale price by as much as $21,000, compared to a difference of only $12,500 before the pandemic. 

“With inventory as low as it is, home sellers can expect a quick sale pretty much year-round,” said Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud. “Even as frantic buyers are snapping up homes days after they hit the market and often bidding them up above list price, there is still value to be had by listing a home during the right time of year, which is in the spring in most cases. This is a friendly market for sellers, but those who are simultaneously buying need a firm grasp on the right tools and strategies to win their next home.”

Of course, all real estate is local, and the advice differs across major U.S. markets. If 2021 trends hold true this year, among the 35 largest metro areas, San Francisco, San Jose, Portland and Austin would have seen the best time to list a home to be as early as the second half of February. Los Angeles, where winter weather does not deter buyers, has the latest ideal time to list; those who listed their home in late December last year saw the biggest price benefit, just edging out late March. Los Angeles metro inventory was 20% lower in December than March, likely contributing to increased demand for each home. 

Still, those markets are outliers. In most large markets, listing in April or May is the sweet spot. Nationwide, the worst time to list a home is during the first two weeks of November, when homes sell for a 3.5% discount.

Regardless of when they are listed, homes are selling quickly. The difference between the periods with the fastest sales (late January through April) and slowest sales (August) was only three days last year, compared to a difference of 12 days in 2019. 

Most home sellers become buyers as well, as they look for their next home. As the best season to list a home approaches, buyers should be prepared for a competitive and fast-moving market. Home listings in April get more than 30% more page views per day than average, meaning more interest and potentially a bidding war that ends in the home selling above list price. 

Buyers should sort out their finances early: deciding their budget, finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a loan, all of which can be done on Zillow’s home loans page. Features like SharePlay and Zillow’s Homes to Compare tool help compare homes quickly with a shopping partner or team. According to customer research, 86% of Zillow users report shopping with a partner, spouse or housemate, and most successful buyers (81%) say they had to make at least one compromise in order to afford their home. The ability to compare more than 70 key listing details on one screen with Zillow’s Homes to Compare tool elevates shoppers’ ability to consider tradeoffs and what they and their shopping partners truly want and need in a new home. And whether buying or selling, a real estate agent with the right skills and experience can help expertly navigate the process. Zillow’s agent finder can help identify a top-rated local agent. 

Maximize Sale PriceMaximize Page Views
Metro Area*Best Time to ListPotential
Sale Price Difference on Typical Home
Worst Time to ListPotential
Sale Price Difference on Typical Home
Best Time to ListPotential Difference in Daily Page ViewsWorst Time to ListPotential Difference in Daily Page Views
United StatesLate April$9,300Early November-$11,700Early April31.1%Late November-20.1%
New York, NYLate April$8,800Late September-$8,200Early March25.1%Early September-19.1%
Los Angeles, CALate December$25,000Early August-$17,900Early April20.4%Early October-11.4%
Chicago, ILLate April$7,600Early November-$11,100Early April40.1%Late October-15.7%
Dallas–Fort Worth, TXLate April$12,400Early November-$17,000Early January30.2%Late November-18.7%
Philadelphia, PAEarly May$6,900Late September-$8,400Early April35.4%Late November-20.3%
Houston, TXLate April$8,600Late October-$9,000Early April25.7%Late October-18.5%
Washington, D.C.Late March$15,300Early October-$20,100Late March46.7%Late September-22.0%
Miami–Fort Lauderdale, FLEarly May$12,800Late October-$17,700Late April33.8%Early January-17.8%
Atlanta, GAEarly May$9,100Early December-$15,000Late March29.5%Late November-20.0%
Boston, MALate March$13,100Early December-$36,300Late March50.6%Late October-19.0%
San Francisco, CALate February$106,400Late October-$93,200Late February50.7%Early October-23.8%
Detroit, MILate April$9,700Late October-$10,900Late April54.9%Late November-22.8%
Riverside, CALate March$20,000Late October-$20,100Early March50.7%Late October-28.5%
Phoenix, AZEarly May$13,600Early November-$15,400Late February43.2%Late November-26.5%
Seattle, WALate March$42,000Early October-$52,700Late February52.5%Late September-20.1%
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MNEarly April$14,500Late November-$20,600Early March42.7%Late September-20.1%
San Diego, CALate March$43,000Late October-$29,700Late February41.3%Late August-21.4%
St. Louis, MOEarly May$7,200Late November-$7,000Early May34.6%Late November-17.2%
Tampa, FLLate April$9,200Early January-$11,200Early April43.6%Early September-20.1%
Baltimore, MDLate March$9,700Early October-$12,700Late March60.2%Late November-23.5%
Denver, COEarly March$30,200Late October-$36,700Early January66.6%Early August-20.9%
Pittsburgh, PAEarly March$6,100Late October-$7,000Late April52.2%Late November-22.7%
Portland, ORLate February$19,700Early October-$25,000Late February51.0%Early October-25.7%
Charlotte, NCEarly May$11,400Early December-$14,200Late April28.2%Late November-15.9%
Sacramento, CAEarly April$26,300Late October-$24,600Late February89.3%Early October-29.9%
San Antonio, TXEarly May$9,000Late December-$11,800Early April29.9%Late November-23.7%
Orlando, FLLate April$9,600Late December-$12,200Late April39.0%Early January-25.1%
Cincinnati, OHEarly May$8,100Early November-$10,900Late April49.0%Late November-25.6%
Cleveland, OHEarly March$7,200Late December-$9,400Late April50.5%Early January-21.8%
Kansas City, MOEarly April$8,800Late November-$10,900Early March61.7%Late November-27.4%
Las Vegas, NVLate April$13,300Late November-$13,200Late March59.9%Late October-28.8%
Columbus, OHLate April$10,700Late November-$13,300Late March56.6%Late November-27.9%
Indianapolis, INLate April$5,900Late November-$12,900Late April41.5%Late November-28.1%
San Jose, CALate February$124,200Early July-$82,600Late December43.1%Late July-21.2%
Austin, TXLate February$62,400Late November-$55,000Early January193.3%Late November-34.3%
*Table ordered by market size 

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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