The holidays are officially here, and so is the slowest time of the year for real estate.
The Holiday Slowdown: From Thanksgiving to the end of the year, it is the slowest time of the year for housing when both the inventory and demand drop to annual lows.
Starbucks does everyone a big favor. Right after Halloween, they reveal their latest holiday cups. This is a glaring reminder for buyers, sellers, and everybody involved in real estate that the Holiday Market is upon us. Costco, CVS, Albertsons, and just about every other retailer quickly follows suit, taking advantage of the busiest retail season of the year. Everyone shakes their head in disbelief, feeling as if Thanksgiving has been skipped. It foreshadows that there isn’t much runway left to cash in on 2019 housing. In the blink of an eye, the housing market has quickly changed and revealed a much different real estate environment. There are fewer and fewer homes for sale as the number of homeowners opting to enter the fray drops to its lowest level of the year. Many sellers who have not found success, mainly due to price, opt to throw in the towel and pull their homes off the market. At the same time, with all the holiday distractions, buyer demand drops to its lowest point of the year as well. In just the past two weeks alone, the active inventory dropped by 11%, shedding 599 homes, the largest drop of the year by a landslide. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the average drop since 2013 has been 20%, 1,234 homes. Many homeowners avoid placing their homes on the market from December through February, opting to sidestep the holidays and the cold winter weather. Ultimately, many homeowners are waiting to sell. They want to take advantage of the absolute “best time of the year” to sell a home, the Spring Market. They may be right, that the spring is the most active time of the year to sell, when demand (new escrows) climbs to a peak for the year; YET, the increase in escrow activity is met with a flood of new FOR SALE signs, competition. In reality, Orange County housing is still hot today for all homes priced below $1 million. It is even a slight Seller’s Market from $1 million to $1.25 million.