To sell your home quickly, list it in the first week of March. 

Last year, as the market rebounded from the pandemic, almost one in four (24.3%) NYC apartments on the market went into contract within a month – the highest share since 2017. However, with elevated mortgage rates pushing down demand, sellers can no longer take quick sales for granted this year. In December, just 8.4% of homes went into contract within a month. As the NYC market continues to cool, it will increasingly resemble the market in 2019 – including the typical pre-pandemic seasonality. The return of seasonality means sellers should calibrate when to put their homes on the market more carefully now than in the volatile few years amid the pandemic. 

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    NYC Homes Under $1.5M on StreetEasy Article continues below

    The March Market Gives Sellers an Edge

    StreetEasy analysis of NYC condo and co-op listings for sale indicates March is the best month for sellers looking to shave time off waiting on the market – and to increase potential proceeds from sales. While early fall is another busy shopping season in NYC following the summer holidays, sellers should not wait past Labor Day weekend, as homes put on the market in the spring are still more likely to sell faster and above asking than in the fall. 

    During March, sellers should consider listing their home in the first week for a faster sale. Apartments put on the market in the first week of March typically go into contract 16 days earlier than comparable homes that were listed during other weeks in the year, as eager buyers jump back into the market in spring. Conversely, the worst time to list is the second to last week of the year. Homes listed during this holiday week typically go into contract 29 days later due to lighter competition among buyers.

    Similarly, apartments put on the market anytime in March tend to have higher probability of selling above the initial asking price compared to the rest of the year. On average, a home listed in March has a 4.1% higher probability of selling above ask compared to similar homes put on the market during any other month of the year. That said, the week that stood out the most for this metric was the last week of April: listing a home during this week (right after the week of Tax Day) yields a 4.9% higher probability of selling above ask. Listing a home after Memorial Day weekend in May leads to a lower probability, as more New Yorkers set off on summer vacations outside the city. The week of Thanksgiving is associated with the lowest probability, as buyer demand cools further amid year-end holiday travels. 

    Besides the seasonal increase in buyer demand, the city’s current low inventory suggests this spring will be a good time to put a home on the market. A record-high share of homes are still being sold above asking in NYC due to citywide inventory shortages and strong competition for pricier homes. Of all listings sold in the city in Q4 2022, 18% sold above asking, just slightly below the peak of 23% in Q3 2022. In the top three neighborhoods on our recent list of the best NYC neighborhoods for sellers, at least one in three homes under contract was sold above asking.

    Competition for Homes among Buyers Peaks in Spring

    StreetEasy data on buyer demand explains why March is likely the best month for NYC sellers. Following year-end holidays, many buyers jump back into the market in January. As the weather in the city gets warmer, March is the most competitive time to buy. “In the spring, the days are longer and the weather makes people want to get outside and look at homes,” says Meg Walhimer, a StreetEasy Expert and agent with Compass. “The days are back for Sunday brunch and open houses.”

    Home shopper inquiries in spring (March through May) are on average 36.5% higher than in autumn and early winter (October through December). At its peak in March, the volume of inquiries that for-sale listings receive on StreetEasy is typically 81.2% higher than in December, the slowest month of the year, and 25.1% higher than the rest of the year. 

    Cherry blossoms in NYC best time to list

    Sellers in the city have already caught on to this trend. In spring, 121.8% more homes are put on the market than in autumn and early winter on average. These springtime listings typically sell almost four weeks (27 days) faster than homes listed in autumn and early winter.

    After mid-summer vacations, sellers who missed the spring market rush to list their homes in September. In a typical September, new listings tend to more than double (146%) from August. However, with the start of a new school year in NYC, there tend to be fewer buyers compared to the rest of the year. Combined with the seasonal surge in new listings, fewer buyers make September less favorable for sellers than spring. Homes listed after Labor Day sit on the market 14 days longer than comparable homes that were listed in other times of the year.

    Manhattan Homes Under $1.5M on StreetEasy Article continues below

    What’s Behind the Seasonality?

    A likely driver of this seasonality in the market is the city’s rental lease cycle. Many rental leases in the city are up for renewal in summer. StreetEasy rental listing data suggests June through August is the time when new rental inventory tends to rise the most. Would-be buyers looking to close on a new home by the end of their rental lease would be inclined to search more aggressively in spring.

    Moreover, families with children would typically want to move into a new home before the new school year begins in autumn, but also ahead of summer holidays and travel – making spring their preferred time to search for homes. Another potential driver, albeit to a lesser degree, could be annual bonus payouts that tend to ramp up between January and March for workers in various industries in the city, especially financial services. 

    Spring in Union Square best time to list

    “The conditions for homes put on the market during the first week of March are highly favorable, primarily due to the presence of buyers who missed the fall market,” says Scott Savory, a StreetEasy Expert and agent with Compass. “These buyers have been keeping a close eye on inventory during the slower winter months, and have a clear understanding of current property values. With an eagerness to secure well-priced listings, these buyers are poised to act quickly and beat out other buyers who may be entering the market later, or sellers who may not be as prepared to make a move.”

    Day of Week Does Makes a Small Difference

    When each day matters, sellers should consider listing their home on a Wednesday in March. In any week of the year, putting a home on the market on a Wednesday – when New Yorkers are most likely to increase their screen time at home or the office – typically reduces a home’s days spent on the market by two days. Conversely, listing a home on a Saturday yields two extra days on the market, as would-be buyers are less likely to be searching for homes online in the middle of the weekend. 

    However, there’s no need to fret too much about the day of week, as the impact of listing a home on a Wednesday or Saturday is only two days on market, respectively. Similarly, the day of week made only a small difference in probability of selling a home above ask: listing on a Wednesday yields a 0.9% higher probability.

    Brooklyn Homes Under $1.5M on StreetEasy Article continues below

    Takeaways for Sellers

    Sellers hoping to take advantage of the spring market should act early, as there is a lot to consider before putting a home on the market. In 2021, homeowners typically spent about three months considering whether to sell, according to the Consumer Housing Trends Report by Zillow, StreetEasy’s parent company. In addition, sellers may need additional time to spruce up the space before having photos taken and planning open houses.

    “Prepping a home for sale takes time. Sellers should give themselves at least a month of lead time to do minor repairs such as painting and decluttering,” advises Rachel King, a StreetEasy Expert and agent with SERHANT. “The market can change very quickly, so it’s best to do all the prep work in advance and keep an eye on the market to ‘go live’ at the perfect time.” 

    If possible, sellers should plan ahead to avoid putting their home on the market during the holiday season slowdown. Early fall is still a busy time, but compared to spring, there are not as many home shoppers in the market. It generally takes longer to sell homes listed between October and December, and these homes tend to have a lower likelihood of selling above initial asking.

    That said, timing the market is challenging. Working with a real estate agent with deep, hyper-local expertise and knowledge of relevant housing types (co-op, condo, townhouse, etc.) – like the pre-vetted agents in StreetEasy’s Experts Network – is the best way for sellers to understand the local NYC market, down to the neighborhood level. 

    “Sellers should follow the advice of their brokers and the professionals who have a pulse on the market. Come up with a plan together with your broker far in advance, with plenty of lead time,” King adds. “Don’t just look at recently sold homes when pricing your property – keep active inventory and rental options top of mind, because that is also your competition.”

    Queens Homes Under $1.5M on StreetEasy Article continues below

    While every home is unique, it’s important to price it in line with comparable homes on the market for a speedy sale. Sellers can turn to the StreetEasy Concierge for sellers for advice on how to give their home a competitive edge. Sellers can also take advantage of their Owner Dashboard, including their StreetEasy Valuation, to minimize the time, stress, and guesswork that can come with selling an NYC home.

    “Sellers who speak with the Concierge can be connected with real estate agents in our Experts Network,” points out Carlo Romero, Senior Business Advisor, Partnerships at StreetEasy. “On average, top Experts sell 1+ month faster than the market and have a sale-to-list price ratio that is around 10% better than the market.”*

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    How We Did It

    We analyzed New York City condo and co-op for-sale listings on StreetEasy between 2017 and 2021 (the last year with complete data), excluding 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily brought real estate activity in the city to a halt. We excluded types of sales that do not resemble conventional transactions, such as short sales and foreclosures by creditors.

    We estimated the average impact of seasonality on the time that a listing spent on the market using a regression with binary variables. The time on market is measured as the number of days between the first listing date and the date when the listing went into contract. In our regression analysis, we controlled for the unit’s price point, number of bedrooms, property type (i.e. condo vs. co-op), and location by introducing additional variables to the regression. 

    The average impact of seasonality on the probability of selling above initial asking price was measured by a probit model with binary variables and the aforementioned listing data. We matched StreetEasy listings under contract to sales records from the NYC ACRIS database to determine whether listings were sold above ask. Similar to our regression for the average impact on days on market, additional variables were introduced to control for variation in key aspects of the listings.

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    *SOURCE: StreetEasy (2012-2022). Market defined as borough, unit type, price point, and share of listings by year.

    Disclaimers: StreetEasy is an assumed name of Zillow, Inc. which has a real estate brokerage license in all 50 states and D.C. See real estate licenses. StreetEasy Concierge team members are real estate licensees, however they are not your agents or providing real estate brokerage services on your behalf. StreetEasy does not intend to interfere with any agency agreement you may have with a real estate professional or solicit your business if you are already under contract to purchase or sell property.

    For FSBO postings, the StreetEasy Concierge is meant to provide insight to improve your posting performance on StreetEasy and may refer you to a real estate professional based on your specific needs.

    StreetEasy Valuation is our estimate for a home’s market value and is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine your home value and monthly rental price.

    StreetEasy earns a referral fee from successful Experts’ transactions, at no cost to the buyer or seller. Experts must meet StreetEasy’s standards of service and market expertise. Agents in our Experts Network have closed deals on homes similar to the seller’s or similar to homes the buyer is searching for. We measure their performance to make sure buyers and sellers get top-notch service.