There is a point in time in every selling season where home sellers in metro areas get the best price for their listings and sell the fastest, according to a Zillow analysis of home sales prices and listing dates.
The study found that in 20 of the 24 largest metro areas in the US, the best month to list is either April or May, towards the end of the selling season. It found that listings during this time fetch 1.5 to 2.5 percent higher sale prices than at other times. Homes also sell more than three weeks faster during this window than at other times.
The reason, according to the analysts, has to do with the decreasing inventory of available homes for sale and the need for families with school children to get settled into their new homes before the beginning of the next school year. Home buyers with young children who have not found their desired homes during the start of the spring selling season will have to increase their offers to ensure that they get the home they want to move into before the start of the school year.
The top 10 cities where home sellers sell the fastest during their best listing times are Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Portland, Los Angeles, Riverside, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Homes in these cities sell 15 to 21.5 days faster than at other times.
The cities that get the biggest price premiums when listing at their best listing times are Seattle, Sacramento, Portland, Denver, San Jose, where final home sale prices are 2.5%, 2%, 2%, 1.7%, and 1.6% higher, respectively, than prices fetched by homes sold in the same areas at other times.
At the start of the spring selling season, four of the largest metro areas, have their best listing times. These are the metro areas of Tampa, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Tampa and Miami have their best listing times from March 1 to 15 while Detroit and Pittsburgh have their best listings times from March 16 to 31. During this two-week window, listed Tampa homes fetch final prices 0.9% higher than homes listed at other times and they sell 10.5 days faster. The study also found that Tampa home sellers can get more by listing on a Saturday.
The advantage for warm-weather areas like Tampa and Miami is that they have flexibility in terms of best times to list. Most home sellers in these two metro areas can expect to get their best results at any month of the year.