We know that the real estate market is seasonal - there are high’s and low’s throughout the calendar year that mark “good times” to sell and “good times” to buy. We’re looking ahead to a summer shift soon, and it’s a good time to discuss why the market ebbs and flows.
We have two primary demographics that shape East Bay real estate. Millennials and Baby Boomers are calling the shots, and, like the sun and the moon, these groups rise and lower the tides for us all.
Many Millennials are at the brink of starting a family, or now that they have a child in-tow, they are in a position to buy their first home. This is a group that is motivated by the school calendar. Whether they are jockeying for the ideal home address for school registration (which starts each year in February), or are navigating ski week, spring break, school holidays, summer break, and winter break, these buyers live-and-die by the school calendar. At a high level, Millennials are able to focus on home selling and buying when they are not otherwise distracted with children at home on break. And when school is out, Millennials are otherwise occupied, of course leading to lower attendance at open houses and resultantly lower competition for available homes.
On the face of it, you’d think that Baby Boomers have all the time in the world! But in truth, their lives follow a similar pattern as Millennials. Whether or not they are retired, many Boomers structure their lives around that of their children and grandchildren. During those aforementioned school breaks that the Millennials are “enjoying”, Boomers are visiting or hosting family, going on trips with their grandkids, or hosting “Grandma Camp” for a week in the summer (and then taking three weeks to recover!). The school calendar cadence impacts even those who are not beholden to it.
What does this all mean for you?
If you are considering selling your home, it’s of the utmost importance that you work with an agent who understands the ebb and flow of the local market. Listing your home on the wrong day could have a trickle-down impact when your Sunday open houses fall during major (or local!) holidays. Your agent should have the wherewithal and gumption to guide the calendar so that it benefits you with the most number of interested buyers as possible.
If you are considering buying a home, know that a seller who is listing their home in “off periods” (read: December 23) is doing so A.) because they may not have another choice or B.) they were not well advised by their agent. There may be opportunity in shopping when other buyers are on a ski vacation or a cruise with the grandparents. Find an agent who can navigate complex listing opportunities because those who sell during the quiet times may be dealing with their own complexities, and you’ll want a good guide through that transaction.
It’s important to understand the fundamental drivers behind buyer and seller motivation as they relate to East Bay real estate market seasonality. Because, as we know, real estate is about so much more than the actual house.