NEW YORK – Dec. 4, 2015 – Homebuyers chasing a bargain may want to act fast. January closings have the best discount for homebuyers, according to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, in his latest column at Forbes.

And most buyers who close in January got their home under contract in December, Yun says.

From their yearly peak price in August and September, home prices decline by 0.51 percent for January closings, according to the Case-Shiller index. On a typical home price of $220,000, that discount could equate to about $1,122.

"The seasonal decline is not all price depreciation of homes" in winter, Yun notes. "A good portion of movement is driven by a higher proportion of lower priced and smaller-sized homes getting sold during the winter months. The reason for this is that families with school-aged kids are generally not in the market during the winter because they do not want their kids to be disrupted during a school year, and it is the families with kids that generally require the larger homes that carry higher prices."

As a result, discounts in winter and during the holidays may be a good opportunity for homebuyers who want to break into the housing market.

"Real estate professionals know this to be true in everyday business since there are far fewer buyers shopping over the holidays; as a result, listed homes stay on the market for a longer period. In short, there is a discount to be had for the few buyers purchasing over the holidays," says Yun.

Source: "Now Is the Best Season to Buy a Home," Forbes (Dec. 2, 2015)

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