California’s ever-changing real estate market can be tough to navigate, especially for those looking to sell a home in the current economic climate.
For state residents looking to downsize or move out of the state altogether, this is when experts say you should sell your home.
“In California, seasonality means more buyer demand in cold months, which pushes the best week to sell slightly earlier,” Hannah Jones, an economic data analyst at Realtor.com, said. “However, for most California metros included, the national best week is within the top 10 weeks of the year to sell.”
This means the best time to sell a home in the Golden State would be around January and March, especially for homes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego.
In comparison to the rest of the country, the best time to sell a home is typically during the spring, specifically in mid-April, according to Jones.
While the ideal time to sell a home in California has passed, that doesn’t mean people can’t put a home on the market. Jones noted that people might hold off on selling their homes for many reasons.
“It is nearly impossible to perfectly ‘time the market,’ as every season has both upsides and downsides for sellers and uncontrollable external factors can have a big impact,” Jones said.
“Sellers who chose to sell now may have to buy a new home at a higher mortgage rate than their current rate, but also stand to cash in on sizable home equity.”
For homeowners who chose to hold off on placing their home on the market, Jones said the next “best” time to sell a home depends on the seller’s preference.
“Potential sellers should evaluate their local housing market and decide if conditions are conducive for a successful sale; however, that may be defined to them,” Jones said. “For example, if a seller cares primarily about listing for a high price, the summer may be a great time to sell as prices peak in the summertime, though sellers tend to be more active in the summer, meaning more competition. If maximum buyer demand is the goal, a slightly earlier sale may mean more listing views, though listing prices tend to be lower.”
Regardless of when a seller enters the market, selling a home can be an extremely stressful process. Jones suggests that sellers should set realistic expectations when entering the market to attract potential buyers.
Sellers should also know that today’s real estate market is more buyer-friendly than a year ago.
Due to high home prices and mortgage rates, many buyers have been priced out of the real estate market, making more homes available for longer.
“In the 10 largest California metros, prices increased 2.2% year-over-year in March, lagging the typical increase seen nationally, and price reductions were up 81.7%. There were about 30% more active listings in these metros than last year, and homes were spending 69% more time on the market,” Jones said.
“Buyers have more leverage than last year, as homes sit longer and prices level out. However, prices were an average 35.4% higher in these metros in March 2023 relative to March 2019, meaning that many buyers have been priced out, unable to participate until prices and/or mortgage rates come down.”
Jones also mentioned that those who enter the market as sellers are also looking to buy another home, whether in the Golden State or elsewhere.
For Californians looking for a home, a March study from Go Banking Rates found that the following California cities have the cheapest home price averages:
- Oildale (Kern County): Average home price: $248,001
- Porterville (Tulare County): Average home price: $278,057
- Delano (Kern County): Average home price: $278,057
- Tulare (Tulare County): Average home price: $310,699
- Calexico (Imperial County): Average home price: $315,277
Prospective homebuyers who are flexible on location but have a fixed budget can look for homes in states like West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi, which offer some of the nation’s lowest real estate costs.