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Home Buying

When Is the Best Time to Buy a House?

When buying a house, wouldn’t it be awesome if you had the widest selection and the lowest prices to choose from—and everything was lined up perfectly for when you were ready to move?

That’s the dream. The problem is, it’s not easy to time when home prices will be low and the number of homes for sale (or inventory) will be high. Even if you could, you’d have to be in the right place in your ever-changing season of life and financial situation.

To help you feel confident about finding the best time to buy your house, we’ll walk you through typical housing market patterns and show you how to tell when you’re financially ready to buy a house. That way, you’ll be set up for success as you take on one of the biggest purchases of your life.

Ready? Let’s do this!

What Is the Best Month to Buy a House?

If we’re going “by the book,” the best month to buy a house is typically August or September—when home prices get lower and inventory is still high. But keep in mind, no one can predict real estate trends with 100% accuracy. So never let what month it is make or break your home-buying decision—only your financial situation can truly determine the right time for you.

See how much house you can afford with our free mortgage calculator!

With that said, in 2021, the best time to buy a house was probably around September—when existing home prices had a pretty nice drop of $6,400 and inventory was only down 20,000 homes. October wasn’t too bad either with a small price jump of $600 and a drop in inventory of 30,000 homes. Compare that to buyers who waited until November—home prices went up $2,500 and inventory dropped by 120,000 homes!1

To see these trends for yourself, check out the chart below:

Month

Home Price (Median)

Inventory (Millions)

July

2021

$364,600

1.31

August

2021

$361,500

1.28

September 2021

$355,100

1.26

October 2021

$355,700

1.23

November 2021

$358,200

1.11

December 2021

$358,800

0.88

January 2022

$354,300

0.85

February 2022

$363,700

0.85

March 2022

$379,300

0.93

April 2022

$395,500

1.03

May 2022

$408,400

1.15

June 2022

$413,800

1.25

July 2022

$403,800

1.312

What Is the Cheapest Month to Buy a House?

Home prices are usually at their lowest in winter. In fact, according to the 12-month period in the table above, home prices were at their lowest in January 2022—at a median home price of $354,300. So if the best time to buy for you means getting the lowest price, be sure to slip on your warm woolen mittens.

Keep in mind, winter is usually hibernation time for real estate—fewer houses are for sale during the busy holiday season (not to mention some regions have the cold and snow to deal with). In 2021, the number of homes for sale saw its greatest drop from November to December—losing 230,000 homes from the market!

Super low inventory could make it harder to find a home that has all the features you want. But no worries—who really needs a jacuzzi in the master bathroom anyway?

What Month Do Most Houses Go on the Market?

Spring is when most houses go on the market. In 2022, the national number of homes for sale shot up an additional 120,000 from April to May—the fastest rate of growth all year. That number kept growing each month into the summer and reached 1.31 million home listings by July! So, if a jacuzzi and an outdoor firepit are a must for you, spring and summer are the times to shop.

On the downside, spring is also the busiest house-hunting season, so competition and prices will likely be at their highest. This year, home prices shot up $15,600 from February to March and reached their highest point of the year in June at $413,800. But if you can budget for it, it’s often worth shopping when there’s an abundance of homes on the market to choose from.

What time of year is cheapest to buy a house? Typically it’s winter because people aren’t usually looking to buy a house once cold weather and the holidays arrive. Less demand for homes will give you some bargaining power.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House?

Since most real estate data points and housing market predictions point toward home values continuing to increase over the next few years, it might be better for you to buy now rather than later. But it really depends on your financial situation (more on that later).

The good news is home prices aren’t shooting up as fast as they were in the past few years. And with housing inventory slowly on the rise and higher mortgage rates removing some buying competition, buyers with all their ducks in a row could benefit from buying a house in the current market.

But Really . . . The Best Time to Buy Depends on You

Sure, you can try timing your home purchase just right to find the widest selection or pay the lowest price. But really, the best time to buy is when your finances are in order.

Here are the biggest signs you’re ready to buy a house:

  • You have zero debt and a big fat emergency fund. The biggest expenses that get in the way of people saving for a home purchase are all debt-related: student loans, credit card debt and car loans.3 Dump the debt and free up your income so you can afford your home adventure!
  • Your house payment won’t be more than 25% of your take-home pay. This 25% limit includes principal, interest, property taxes, home insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI) and homeowners association (HOA) fees.
  • You’ve saved up a big down payment. Taking out a mortgage with a super low or no down payment will have you paying so much extra in interest and fees and keep you in debt for decades. Sure, it’s not popular to slow down and save up a bigger down payment. But it’ll protect you from a lifetime of stress and money fights in the long run.
  • You know how to choose the right mortgage. The overall lowest total cost mortgage is a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan. Beware of fancy (expensive) mortgage products like ARM, FHA, VA, USDA and even a 30-year loan. They’re designed to help people who really aren’t financially ready to buy a house get one anyway—and then pay through the nose for it over the next few decades in the form of extra interest and fees.
  • You can handle homeownership costs. Depending on the age of the home you buy, you could end up having to tackle several home maintenance projects in a year, costing hundreds to thousands of dollars. Sadly, there’s no more landlord to fix things for you. Also, moving into a bigger space usually means your utility bill will be bigger too—so make sure you can budget for these things.
  • You plan on staying put for a while. All the up-front costs and work you’d put into getting a house probably won’t be worth the small amount of value you’d gain by living in it for only a short amount of time. But if you love your city and plan to stay put for at least several years, buying a house is a great investment!

If each of those statements sounds like you—congrats!—now could be the best time for you to buy a house. Get the ball rolling by getting preapproved for the right mortgage.

Find Your Best Time to Buy a House With Help From an Agent

If you want expert advice on whether now is the best time for you to buy, work with an experienced real estate agent who knows your market like the back of their hand. For a quick and easy way to find RamseyTrusted agents in your area, try our free Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program. We only recommend agents who share our mission to serve you with excellence.

Find an expert real estate agent in your area!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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