When is the best time of year to buy a house?

What you need to know to decide when to start looking for a home. (iStock)

If you're like most potential home buyers hoping to find your dream home for the right price, then you're probably thinking: When is the best time of year to buy a house? Traditionally, spring is the most popular time of year to buy a home — but that may not necessarily be the "sweet spot."

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Here's what you need to know about the housing market, mortgage rates, pricing trends, and more — including the best time of year to buy a house, according to experts.

When is the best time of year to buy a house?

Although peak inventory periods may vary by location (see “the best time to buy a house may depend on location” below), generally more homes are on the market in March, April, and May.

That’s because, usually, a wave of buyers hit the market after hibernation during the winter months, and sellers list their homes to take advantage of that demand — meaning spring is the best season to purchase a house if you want a larger selection of homes.

What is the best month to buy a house?

Spring isn’t the best time of year to nab a deal, however. According to a comprehensive 2015 study by RealtyTrac of 32 million sales of single-family homes and condos since 2000, buyers typically snagged the best deals in October, where the average sales price was 2.6 percent below the market value of homes sold.

If saving money is your goal, then finding a house in the winter may be best. Following October, these are the best months to purchase a home to get a lower sales price:

The “sweet spot” if you want a healthy supply of homes and affordable home prices? According to a Zillow analysis of 2016 listings and home sales, it’s November, where just 15% of homes sold above asking price and inventory levels were still strong.

When you're ready to buy, use Credible's free online tools to walk you through the buying process. You can compare mortgage rates and pricing trends with the click of a button.

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND WHEN BUYING A HOME?

What's the worst month to buy a house?

The study found the worst month to purchase a home was April, when buyers purchased at an average premium of 1.2% above market value.

No matter what time of year you buy a house, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best mortgage rate and terms that you can qualify for. Visit an online mortgage broker like Credible today to get personalized rates and preapproval letters without affecting your credit score.

WHAT CREDIT SCORE DO YOU NEED TO BUY A HOUSE?

Is 2020 a good year to buy a house?

Yes, if you’re looking to lock in a low mortgage rate.

Government-sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey put 30-year fixed mortgage rates at 2.86% with 0.8 discount points paid for the week of September 10. Mortgage rates dropped below 3 percent for the first time ever the week ending July 16.

The caveat? Homes are getting more expensive. In July the median sales price of existing homes jumped 8.5% year over year to $304,100, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Meanwhile, the median sales price of new homes in June hit $329,200, up 5.6% from last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

If you decide now is the right time for you to buy a home, use an online mortgage calculator to determine what your potential monthly mortgage payments would be. You can also use Credible for your house hunting needs, especially if you're hoping to move quickly on a mortgage.

5 MYTHS ABOUT CREDIT SCORES FOR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS

The best time to buy a house may depend on the location

Homebuyer activity can vary by location. While nationally the peak month for average views per listing on realtor.com in 2019 was April, January ranked as the top month in 20 of the 100 largest metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, according to a report from the property listing website.

The weather may also play a factor when buyers start their home search. Beach towns, for example, frequently see an influx of visitors — read: potential buyers — in warmer months.

One way to determine the best time to buy a home in your locale is to contact a local real estate agent who has their pulse on the market. Although you have access to a wealth of housing data online, such as home price trends and changes in the average days on market for properties, an agent can help you contextualize this information.

Visit Credible to get in touch with experienced loan officers and get your mortgage questions answered.

WHAT IS EARNEST MONEY WHEN BUYING A HOME?

How far in advance should you start looking for a house?

One of the most common mistakes homebuyers make is they start their house hunt too late.

It’s never too early to start poking around listings online or to start stopping by open houses to get an idea of what you can afford in your area. However, you don’t want to wait until you’re ready to make an offer on a house to explore your mortgage options, since many home sellers require buyers to present a mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender with their offer.

When you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, visit an online mortgage broker like Credible to get personalized rates within three minutes and without affecting your credit score.

HOW TO GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE

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