What's the Best Time of Year to Buy a House?

Last Updated Apr 30, 2009 1:50 PM EDT

Dear Ali;
I'm a homebuyer that you met in March. I know you said to wait if I wanted a discount, but now the weather is nice and I feel like buying. Will homes really be cheaper in the summer?
A: The first thing I tell buyers is that if I could truly predict prices, I would be on a yacht in the Caribbean instead of schlepping around showing condos.

The second thing I tell buyers is that it's always better to shop in bad weather. Just as you'll get the best prices on fur coats in August (hey, PETA, please don't throw red paint on this post) or on air conditioners in December, you want to be a home shopper when no one else is. That means the heat of August and the dead of winter.

So yes, that instinct that you have to buy right now because the flowers are out and the birds are singing? It's an instinct that everyone else is having, too. The National Association of Homebuilders confidence index -- which was at record lows in, yep, December -- just took a gigantic jump in April.

So hold that thought for four months, or eight, if you truly want a seasonal discount.

  • Alison Rogers

    Since graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Alison Rogers has been a reporter, an editor, a real-estate agent, a Wall Street desk jockey, a columnist, a failed flipper, and a landlady. A member of the National Association of Realtors, she currently sells and rents luxury co-ops in Manhattan for the Chelsea-based firm DG Neary. (If you've got $27,500 a month, the firm has an apartment for you!) Her book, Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, was called "a valuable guide for rookie buyers" by AOL/Walletpop, "beach-read fun" by the New York Observer, and "witty" by Newsweek.