Watch CBS News

Is winter a good time to buy a house?

Buying a home in the winter has many benefits, but it may not be the right move for everyone.  Getty Images

Buying a house can be tough at any time of the year. Not only are you trying to find a home you like in your price range, but there are typically scores of other people competing for a limited number of homes. That's especially true right now, as housing stock is still in short supply in many markets. 

When it comes to home buying, though, there is a certain amount of seasonality — meaning that certain times of year tend to have more home buyer activity than others. And, generally speaking, spring and summer are the most popular times of year for home sales. A 2022 study from real estate data firm ATTOM found that the top 15 best days for home sellers were in May. That said, there are a few reasons to consider buying a house in the winter instead.

Ready to buy a house? Start comparing your mortgage loan offers online today.

Is winter a good time to buy a house?

It might take a bit more work to buy a home in the winter, but it could also be the difference between buying a home and coming up empty-handed. Here are a few reasons why it might make sense to consider looking for a home while the weather is cold.

You could get a better deal

Shopping for a home in the winter months could give you the chance to get a bargain. The seller premium for January was 6.2%, according to the ATTOM study, meaning that sellers got, on average, 6.2% above the automated valuation model, which is a computer algorithm that determines a home's value. In February, the average seller premium was 7.9%. 

Compare that with warmer months like May, June and July, when the seller premiums were 10% or above and topped out at 12.6% in May. There is no guarantee you'll get a deal if you shop in the winter — that comes down to the market area, the skill of your agent and many other factors — but the data suggests you are more likely to get one during that time.

Compare your mortgage offers now to prepare for buying a home soon

There may be less competition

Whether looking at homes or going on a walk, many people don't like to spend as much time outdoors in the cold months. And, many families are hesitant to move during these months to avoid uprooting children from their schools mid-year. In turn, fewer people typically buy homes in the winter months

This benefits buyers in a few different ways. For starters, less competition means that you're less likely to get outbid. It can also put entice sellers to take a lower offer if they need to sell quickly. 

Let's say, for example, that a seller is buying a new house and needs to sell their current home. If you're purchasing a home in May, there's a higher chance that the sellers could get multiple bidders resulting in a bidding war. With fewer potential buyers in the winter months, sellers may take a lower offer to get cash in their hands to close on their new home.

You can see the home in the worst weather

When you buy a home, you are buying all of its problems, including any issues it has in bad weather. If you look at a home in the winter, you'll know if the basement doesn't get warm, or if the sidewalk in the front sidewalk gets icy and becomes a hazard. You may have no way of knowing these issues if you looked at the house in May or June. 

The bottom line

Buying a house in the winter means braving the cold to check out properties. That may be worth the hassle, though. You may be more likely to get a deal on a home and there will likely be less competition from other buyers. Plus, you'll get a chance to see how homes hold up in the winter weather conditions, which could have a big impact on whether or not you put in an offer on a home.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.