Selling your house? Here's the best time to do it

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With the pivotal spring season for the housing market well underway, homeowners looking to sell can strategize the timing of the sale in order to maximize their profit, according to a new report published by Zillow.

An analysis of 2023 sales conducted by the real-estate company shows that historically, May was the best month to sell a house. However, that has changed in the wake of the pandemic-induced shock to the housing market.

Now, June is considered to be the best time to sell a home for those looking to maximize their sale price. Homes listed in the first two weeks of June sold for 2.3% more than average, a $7,700 boost for the typical U.S. home, according to the study.

MORTGAGE CALCULATOR: SEE HOW MUCH HIGHER RATES COULD COST YOU

Before the pandemic, May was “consistently” the best time to list. The shift in recent years suggests that high mortgage rates are influencing demand, as is the influx of buyers during spring. 

“This home-shopping season is poised to follow a similar pattern as that in 2023, with the potential for a second wave if the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates midyear or later,” the report said.

The sharp rise in mortgage rates over the past two years has created a “golden handcuff” effect in the housing market. Sellers who locked in a record-low mortgage rate of 3% or less during the pandemic began have been reluctant to sell, leaving few options for eager would-be buyers.

HOME PRICES COULD SURGE OVER THE NEXT YEAR AS AFFORDABILITY CRISIS WORSENS

Economists predict that mortgage rates will remain elevated for the first half of 2024 and that they will only begin to fall once the Federal Reserve starts cutting rates. Even then, rates are unlikely to return to the lows seen during the pandemic.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year loan this week rose to 6.82% from 6.79%. While that is down from a peak of 7.79% in the fall, it remains sharply higher than the pandemic-era lows of just 3%.

For sale sign outside of an Atlanta home

The swings in mortgage rates mean that prospective buyers may pounce when rates fall, or choose to wait on the sidelines if they start to rise.

“With persistently low inventory, mortgage rate fluctuations make their own seasonality,” the Zillow report said. “First-time home buyers who are on the edge of qualifying for a home loan may dip in and out of the market, depending on what’s happening with rates.”

Available home supply remains down a stunning 34.3% from the typical amount before the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, according to a separate report published by Realtor.com.

Most homeowners say they are nearly twice as willing to sell their home if their mortgage rate is 5% or higher, according to a separate Zillow survey.

About 80% of mortgage holders have a rate below 5%.

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