The sound of lawn mowers purring. The smell of lilac bushes starting to bloom. May is a magical time period for a variety of reasons, particularly for those of us who have eagerly awaited the warmer temps and sunshine. But it turns out that the first half of May is a real dynamo for the real estate market, too. According to research conducted by Zillow, homes listed from May 1 to 15 sell about 2 weeks faster, and for a $2,400 premium over properties listed at other times during the year. This proved to be the case in 2017, as well.
So what causes this acceleration of home sales? Simply put, the 2018 spring selling season is dealing with a shortage of homes. Inventory is low, and prospective home buyers don’t have a lot to choose from. Most buyers started looking right when the spring season began—so by the time mid-May rolls around, most will end up spending more than they originally intended, either because they’ve gotten caught up in competition, or they’re looking to move before the summer begins. That’s why late-spring listers can take advantage, and ideally, score a premium.
However, the “Magic Window” rule doesn’t go for every part of the country. While the first half of May was the best time to list in 14 of the 24 large markets analyzed by Zillow, it’s best to cash in at a different time in some other markets. If you live in Pittsburgh, the magic window is March 16 to 31. St. Louis has a later window, with the market’s best time to sell coming in the first half of June.
The West Coast may be the best coast (see what I did there?) for taking advantage of your magic window. According to Zillow, the six markets where sellers earn the biggest premium over listing at the average time are all in California, Oregon or Washington. San Francisco’s magic window is particularly wild, since sellers listing in the late-April period can expect a $15,300 premium over listing at other times—the largest premium among all markets analyzed.
It turns out the day of the week that your listing hits the market can also have an influence on its sale. Zillow’s research states that Saturday is the best day of the week to list a home, with Thursday, Friday, and Sunday also being good bets. There’s one major metro area where Saturday isn’t the best, however: In Boston, the bet day to list your home is Wednesday.