Expert long term investment advisers commonly tell us that trying to time the market is a losing strategy. They say it’s risky and those that try end up losing. As a conservative investor myself, I agree with them in both the stock and real estate markets over the long term. However, and this is huge, the data is clear to me that you CAN time the Charlotte real estate market seasonally! This means that from an investment standpoint there is a “best” time of year to buy if you have the luxury of time and want to get the best deal possible.
For almost 13 years, I’ve been closely watching the seasonal real estate data for Mecklenburg County. Every year without exception, the average and median home prices have risen during the spring with a peak in summer, then they fall back down to a valley in January or February. And the variance between the low and high for average sales price is commonly 20% or more! For example, the average price in February of 2017 was $284,646 and in June it was $344,487. That is a 21% change in five months!
Surely there are arguments to this theory. Inventory is lower in the fall and there’s not as much to choose from so its harder to find the right house that time of year. There is some truth to this but what is available that time of year is typically homes that are either the ones that didn’t sell over the summer or highly motivated sellers that need to sell at that time. Either way, those sellers tend to be more motivated.
The data is in and the market has peaked for 2017. The average sales price was $344,487 in Mecklenburg County in June 2017 and it has already fallen to $321,686 for July. From a long term standpoint, 2017 has been the most expensive year for Charlotte real estate on record. But the window for buyers in our market is about to open for the next six months as prices drop to the seasonal lows.
If you are thinking about a purchase in the next 12 months, don’t wait until spring!! Now is the time to start shopping for what you seek and if you can time your purchase to happen in late fall or early winter you can save big!
We have recently published the market stats for July 2017 in Mecklenburg County and you can visit them on our website here: http://wrealtygroup.com/market/stats/
For a quick summary when comparing July 2017 to June and again to the same month last year:
- Home sales are down 21% from last month, but up 9% from last year.
- Average sales price is down 7% from last month and 2% from last year.
- Median home price is down 4% from last month but up 6% from last year.
- Average price per square foot is is down 3% from last month and down 2% from last year.
- Average time on market is down 8% from last month and 20% from last year.
- Pending sales are down 6% from last month and 5% from last year.
- Supply is down 2% from last month and 12% from last year.
- Mortgage rates at 3.9% are even with last month, and up slightly from 3.44% last year.
- Average house payment is down 7% from last month, but up 4% from last year.