Knowing when to buy a home can mean money in your pocket. But there is a catch. Buying a home at the right time may not always be convenient. If you have the flexibility to choose when you move, you may be able to save a few dollars. If you plan on buying a home in Southern California, your options are very different than if you are looking for a home in Southeast Idaho. California is a year round market because of weather. Idaho not so much. There are so many factors. For example, if you are looking in a collage town, your options come and go based on school schedules. When you look for a home in Rexburg and surrounding communities, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Weather - Lets face it, weather has a big effect on everything in Southeast Idaho. The springs are unpredictable, summers are beautiful but short, and winter can be downright brutal. Although looking for a home in the winter may be more difficult, sometimes you can find great deals, especially on homes that are vacant because the homeowner moved to avoid moving in the winter. Winter shopping can mean less inventory to choose from, but homeowners selling during the winter are often more likely to negotiate a discounted price. The down side of shopping in the winter is you have to move in the cold and snow. But it just may be worth it.
Demographics - Demographics is a fancy word for the traits and makeup of a population. Demographics are important as you consider when to buy a home. Rexburg is a college town, which means that students and young married couples will come and go on a semester schedule. If you are looking for a condo or town home and it is the middle of a semester, you may have a hard time finding much inventory. On the other hand, a month before graduation inventory may rise dramatically. A month after graduation you may find owners willing to negotiate so they can move on to their new job.
Another important demographic in a college town has to do with university staff. Is the school growing or downsizing? If it is growing, more staff are being hired. This can put a strain on inventory during periods of hiring. If demand is up and inventory is low, expect to pay more for that middle income home if you can find one available.
Housing Inventory - In late 2007 and for most of 2008, real estate was on fire. Money was cheap and builders were creating plenty of inventory. That all ended at the close of 2008 when the mortgage meltdown occurred. In Southeast Idaho, when this meltdown happened, some builders were left high and dry, and lost everything they had over the next year or so. The effects of that meltdown can still be seen today. Developers are building, and inventory is increasing, but at a much more controlled and cautious pace. The effect of this scenario has been low inventory in an area that is growing. This has kept prices steadily moving up. This will continue until there is an increase in mortgage rates and qualification requirements, or builders become less concerned and risk more by building out neighborhoods faster. When the pendulum begins to swing the other way, and more inventory sits on the market for longer periods of time, this may be when to buy a house.
There are many other factors involved in finding the best time to buy a house, including local and regional factors that can be very different from region to region. Do the research. Find out about the area you are looking in. Look for trends and why they happen. Are there large businesses opening or closing down? Are there seasonal factors that make prices and inventory fluctuate in a predictable way? Understanding some of these factors can help you make a more informed decision.