When is the Best Time to Sell a California Home?

When is the best time to sell a California home

It would be fantastic if a home seller could list at any time of the year and collect the same profit.

We all know that can’t be the case. Homes can fetch higher (or lower) prices during different times of the year. The amount of offers you get can also fluctuate.

Real estate agency owner Sandy Jamison says, “I get this question from sellers a lot…When is the best time to sell? I always tell them right after Superbowl Sunday and the Lunar New Year”

Sellers should be ready to list around this time, as more buyers are out searching for their dream homes late in February and March. Even though buyers are high in number, listings aren’t.

This means the few sellers compete less, receive more offers, and have a stronger chance of walking away with their asking price (or more).

What Does the Data Say About Prices Throughout the Year?

Home prices throughout the year in the U.S:

Looking at 2023 from January to November, there’s a peak in June of the sales prices of existing homes. June 2023 has a median sale price of $410,000, but January’s is $361,200, the lowest month in the data. That’s almost a $50,000 difference in 5 months.  

Home prices throughout the year in California:

California’s 2023 median prices for single-family homes peaked later than the U.S. prices (according to the NAR statistics). When the nation peaked in June, California had strong prices. In fact, the median home prices from May through to November should satisfy most home sellers' financial goals.

Hollywood California

The state of California hit max prices in August 2023 ($859,800) and the lowest prices in February ($735,480). via -Source

Yes. That’s almost a $125,000 difference between the hottest month of 2023 and the weakest. 

Month of 2023

Median Price 

January

$751,330

February (Lowest)

$735,480

March

$791,490

April

$811,950

May

$836,110

June

$838,260

July

$832,400

August (Highest)

$859,800

September

$843,340

October

$840,360

November

$822,200

December

$819,740

Timing is crucial. The data shows a massive difference in the median home price from month to month. 

Your home is unique. The price of your home may follow these trends closely, but features and location can massively skew these numbers. Find out which month could be profitable for your home by going directly to the source of reliable information (a realtor in California). 

Your Home Might Not Match the Trends

As a home seller, you’ve got a clear goal, which is maximizing profit. Homes may be priced higher by sellers during spring and summer - but that’s not the case for every property.

Some areas may experience higher peaks and lower lows, while others might be more consistent throughout the year. This article (and the data in it) should be a guideline, not a rule of thumb.

Here’s a guideline from Sandy Jamison, a realtor with 15 years of success:

“I always tell sellers the best time to sell is between February to May. After that time, the market starts to stagnate a bit and you won’t get multiple offers or overbidding. The supply and demand are more in balance during the summer months”

California Market Trends for Each Season

The California real estate market ebbs and flows the most between May and the start of November. January and February seem to be the lowest-performing months for California home prices. However, those aren’t the only months that home sellers need to be careful of. Decreasing prices can start in November and fall quickly.

You’ve already seen the median prices for 2023, but how do the markets perform? Which times of the year are competitive and when do sellers need to be more open to offers? Let’s answer some of those questions.

Spring Trends and Prices

New listings slowly ebb onto the market in spring and competition begins to heat up, along with the weather. Any buyers who weren’t able to find a home during the winter will be scouring the spring listings.

For home sellers, a competitive market can mean handfuls of interested buyers - but places the emphasis more on pricing your home to perfection. Buyers have options during spring and they know summer will bring even more. It’s up to you to stage your property well, though the market isn’t ultra-competitive yet.

Landscape overview of California

Throughout the year, home prices rise and fall like California’s topography -via Sergei A

At least in 2023, the median prices grew over $45,000 from March to May.

From the start of March to the end of May, the California market should have a trickle of listings. The median home prices won’t be at their peak yet, but they are on the way.

The median days spent on the market also decreased as we approached the summer of 2023.

Spring Months of 2023

Median Days on the Market

March

24.0

April

20.0

May

17.0

Summer: Trends and Prices

If you’ve heard that summer is competitive, it was the truth. California home sellers experience fewer days on the market and a healthy amount of buyers. This is also the time that some home sellers will cash in on summer’s inflated prices.

Insider info on summer months: Lots of listings + lots of buyers = fewer offers. The California real estate market is more balanced around this time of year. Buyers have more selection, so you might not offers piling up, nor will they be as likely to pay above market value.

It’s a competitive time - so be competitive. Sellers should take every opportunity to impress potential buyers. Stand out from comparable properties if you want to collect as much profit as possible. Realtors can help you establish that price point.

Summer Weather in California

Summer is a competitive time of year for California real estate via Source

The highest median home prices show up in August ($859,800), well into the summer months. In 2023, May and June were almost identical with median prices of $836,110 and $838,260. 

San Francisco Bay Area saw its peak median prices in June ($1,323,8100), proving that each market can have its own behavior.

The difference between median prices over California’s summer months of 2023 is about $22,000. It’s important to remember that more valuable properties could experience even greater returns from a summer sale, assuming the homes follow NAR trends.

Summer Months of 2023

Median Days on the Market

June

15.0

July

16.0

August

18.0

Autumn: Trends and Prices

Fall is an interesting time for home sellers. It’s starting to take longer for homes to sell as many buyers have secured their homes during the supply-rich spring and summer months. Thanks to this very time-sensitive pressure, buyers tend to be more serious.

California's Iconic Skylines

One of California’s iconic skylines via Source

California home sellers want to avoid keeping their homes on the market into the winter. Consider this when offers come your way. 

Prices also dropped during autumn 2023. Between September and October median prices dropped by a few thousand dollars ($843,340 to $840,360), but prices fell steeply in November to $822,200.

Fall Months of 2023

Median Days on the Market

September

18.0

October

20.0

November

21.0

Winter: Trends and Prices

Winter is not ideal for home sellers - or buyers. Presenting the home in its best light isn’t easy, nor are winter stagings. For Californians, winter might be quite mild, so the selling process might not freeze over. 

There won’t be as many buyers looking at homes during the winter. If you choose to list and go through the process of selling, you may need to make certain concessions to close the deal.

If you can wait until late February and the beginning of spring, real estate pros say you’ll have a much easier time catching a buyer’s eye. As if awakening from hibernation, the market will experience a significant jump towards the end of winter and beginning of spring.

Snow in California

Not all of California gets snow during the winter via Source

Motivated buyers will be out there. You can add more marketing to attract them or add incentives, like price reductions. This can be a great time to use a realtor’s network of buyers. Even in slow winter months, they could connect you with someone who’s ready to make you an offer - and save you a lot of waiting around.

Just look at the increase in median days on the market from autumn to winter 2023. From September to November, there’s only a three-day increase. Then, in December, five days are added to the median; a huge jump. It was a similar story in 2022 

Month of 2023

Median Days on the Market

December

26.0

Get Answers to Your Questions

If you’re still not sure how your own market will react during different seasons, get in touch with us. Our team of realtors can tell you firsthand what to expect. 

We also have something called the Guaranteed Sale Program - and you’ll want to hear about this. Most home sellers want to move on to their next home, but that can hinge on selling their current one first. We appraise your home, write you a guarantee, and take away that worry.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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