The Bay Area real estate market has a distinct seasonal pattern. The busiest months for new listings are March through September, and the quietest months are November through January. In general, there are about 3 times more homes listed during the busier months relative to the quieter months.
This seasonality is driven by a number of factors including:
- The school year: Buyers want to buy their new home before the new school year to ensure a smooth transition into their local school.
- Holidays: November through January has a number of public holidays and vacations which could affect open house attendance and buyer interest.
- Historical trends: Buyers and sellers follow historical norms, which perpetuate the historical seasonal trends.
The “season” generally kicks off in early February, with the first wave of listings coming online (generally the first weekend after the Super Bowl). Listings pick up through March and April as some sellers elect to wait until the market is in full swing with the bulk of buyers becoming active.
May is generally a busy listing month as there is an end-of-Spring surge in listings before a brief cooling off for the summer. Memorial Day and 4th July holidays, as well as summer vacation plans, generally slow the number of listings during June and July, and these months tend to be comparable to February and March. August is slightly softer than July in terms of new listings.
September sees a big surge in listings (the weekend after Labor Day), as homeowners contemplating selling this year list before the season closes out. September listings are also bolstered by sellers who have waited until moving into their new home, and gotten their children settled into new schools, before listings in mid-Fall. The season gradually winds down from October through December, with December being the slowest month of the year.
Despite these seasonal trends, we recommend that active buyers keep abreast of the new listings throughout the year. Even in the quieter months, new listings are still happening. During these quieter months, buyer interest tends to wane, and there may be opportunities to put an offer on a home in a less competitive situation than during the busiest months.