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Winter wonderland: home for the holidays

Reading Time — 7 minutes

December 16, 2022

By Megan Meyer Toolson

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Reading Time — 7 minutes

December 16, 2022

While winter is a traditionally slow time of year for the real estate market, many home buyers and sellers aren’t in total hibernation. In fact, winter could be an opportune time for buyers looking for a more affordable home and less competition. We examined real estate seasonality across our 53 markets to find if weather correlates with buyer behavior. Spoiler alert: things aren’t as obvious as you might think.

According to Opendoor data, Asheville, Birmingham, Houston, Jacksonville, and San Francisco are among the most seasonal real estate markets, meaning there are higher peaks and lower troughs in home price appreciation (HPA) in a typical year. And even though cities like San Francisco and Jacksonville tend to have temperate weather, we found they experience higher seasonality in terms of price changes for homebuyers and sellers.

In contrast, Phoenix, Knoxville, Miami, Oklahoma City, and Salt Lake City are the top five least seasonal markets in which Opendoor operates, meaning HPA shifts are more muted. The traditional notion that there’s a “good” and “bad” time to buy or sell a home isn’t as applicable in these places. It’s surprising to see a market like Salt Lake City on that list given how cold the winters can be. (Though winter isn’t necessarily a bad time to move if you’re looking to save money: according to Angi, many moving companies decrease their rates by 30% in the winter due to less demand.)

Based on our data analysis, there isn’t a stark correlation between weather and real estate seasonality. Are you putting off your home search until the spring or summer? If price is your top concern, you may not have to wait.

Our data shows that average prices across economic cycles are the lowest in January, meaning buyers could find homes at lower price points. Further, ATTOM Data revealed the best times to buy a house (at least in terms of price) are in the last two months of the year. In particular, December 19, 24, 26, and January 9 are some of the best days.

So if you’re inspired to continue or start your home search this winter season, here are some ways Opendoor can help.

Eliminate Holiday Stress: Save Thousands with Cash Offers

The holidays can be a stressful time of year, but buying a home shouldn’t have to be. Instead of managing dozens of middlemen and spending your weekends at open houses, we give buyers more control – right in the palm of their hands.

With our mobile app, you can browse homes, schedule tours on your timeline, and submit cash offers to make your money go the furthest. When you find the home you love, we can buy it for you, presenting an all-cash offer to the seller free of loan and appraisal contingencies. Then, we’ll hold the home while you shop for a mortgage that best fits your budget. Offers that rely solely on financing are risky for sellers because there’s always a chance they could fall through. Cash offers provide sellers with more certainty, which is attractive in any market. That means you could save up to 11%* when competing against financed offers. To put that into context: on a $400,000 home, the savings could be as high as $44,000.

This was something 25-year-old Kris Thordarson took advantage of for his recent home purchase. “The ultimate game changer was Opendoor’s cash offer,” he said. “It helped seal the deal with the seller. The entire experience made me very confident and comfortable, especially as a first-time homebuyer.”

A few months ago, Kris moved from California to Austin, Texas thanks to job flexibility. When the market started to cool, he took advantage of the fact that he had equity and time on his side.

Winter Moving Made Easy: Buy and Sell in One Place

If you also have a home to sell and are feeling overwhelmed to navigate the moving process, we have you covered. More than two-thirds of home sellers are also buying a home, yet we hear from customers every day that buying and selling at the same time is nearly impossible. Just as you use an app to book a flight to see your grandkids or order groceries for a holiday dinner, homeowners can sell and buy a home seamlessly and without surprises using Opendoor.

Buy + Sell gives homeowners the flexibility they need to line up closing dates and avoid paying for double mortgages or moving twice. Now available in 17 markets across the country with our most recent launch in San Diego.

And if you’re eyeing a new construction home, our Homebuilder Partnership Program makes it just as seamless. We remove contingencies from the home buying process, so buyers can quickly and easily make their next life transition. Once you find the new home of your dreams from one of our builder partners, select your move-out and move-in dates and bypass the hassle of double moves or mortgages. And you have up to nine months after closing to move.

Add “Home” to Wish List: Shop for Homes like you Shop on Amazon

Introduced this year, Opendoor Exclusives is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers directly. It provides homebuyers with an e-commerce-like experience that focuses on unique selection, a simple process, affordability, and peace of mind around price. For homeowners, it’s an easier selling experience that involves much less time and hassle than the traditional route. Plus, they get to see offers from Opendoor as well as our network of buyers to choose what’s best for them.

“I felt like I was shopping for a home on Amazon. It was great! It was ours and we didn’t have to compete with anyone,” said new homeowner Amanda Matasick.

Each of our Opendoor-owned homes on Exclusives comes with transparent, buy-it-now pricing, enabling you to buy without negotiations or bidding wars, just as Amanda did. And our price is lower than the future public list price. Once you’re ready to make an offer, we back it up with our Appraisal Price Match Guarantee, where you pay the appraised price – up to a $50,000 difference – if it comes in lower. This can result in up to $10,000 in savings.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Homeownership

Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you’ll make, so I always advise buyers to do what’s best for them – not rushing or waiting for the “right” time of year. Kris didn’t put off his home search for that very reason, and now, he’s happily settling into a new home for the holidays. “I can’t wait to buy a Christmas tree,” he beams. “For the first time, I can decorate and make a home my own.”

If you’re looking for a new home, our team at Opendoor is here to help eliminate stress from a hectic time of year. Buy your next home, sell your current home, or do both — all in one simple, fast and certain experience.

Methodology: This data is derived from changes in Opendoor’s proprietary HPI (home price index) at the market and month level. We used up to 10 years of MLS data on closed homes in each of Opendoor’s markets and buying criteria. The numbers are the average monthly deviation from the annual trend, meaning these numbers are all seasonal variations from the average, not the actual level of HPA.

*A UCSD study of home sale data estimated that mortgaged homebuyers paid an average premium of 11% over all-cash buyers. Buying experiences may vary.