Is there a best time to buy a house in California? It depends on your priorities and situation.
In recent years, listing prices in California have been lowest in April — $158,882 less expensive than the yearly average. In November, listing prices spiked to $165,094 more than the annual average.
Mortgage rates, on the other hand, were lowest in December. But with interest rates currently on the rise, it pays to explore your options with a trusted mortgage provider to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.
Read on to discover which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in California.
Best month for
11.5% lower than average
13.2% more homes to choose from
2.88% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (10/1/2020)
Bankrate data (12/1/2020)
If you're planning to buy a home in California, it's important to connect with a realtor who's an expert in your local market. Economic conditions can change quickly, and a knowledgeable realtor can give you up-to-date information on where and when to buy.
A free service like Clever Real Estate will match you with top agents from trusted brands like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. Interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the perfect fit, or walk away at any time with no obligation. Add your zip code below to request hand-picked agent matches today!
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When is the best time to buy a house in California?
In California, you'll find the highest number of listed homes in April, May, and June. You'll typically have better luck negotiating the price of a property during these months when there are more houses on the market.
On a national level, winter is typically the best time to negotiate the price of a home because not as many homes tend to be on the market. Homeowners who list their homes in the winter are usually selling out of immediate need, so you're more likely to find a good deal. But buyers may need to put more work into these homes, since they may not have as many repairs and updates.
While these are general rules of thumb, it's important to remember that price trends can vary from city to city — and there may even be anomalies within certain neighborhoods. The best way to find a home in your target market is to connect with a local realtor. They'll help you navigate the ins and outs of your market and find the best time to buy a house in California.
What are the best cities to buy a house in California?
Before buying a home, you'll want to gather information about the cities you're considering living in. Not sure where to start house hunting? Here are five great cities to buy a home in California.
- Oxnard: If you’re looking for a beachfront lifestyle at an affordable price, consider buying a home in Oxnard.
- Irvine: This city offers a quality of life 45% higher than the nation’s average. Low unemployment and a booming economy make it ideal for many California buyers.
- Sacramento: This city has affordable houses even though it's close to San Francisco. The majority of households are renters, so you might consider renting your house if you decide to relocate there long term.
- Ventura: At a lower cost than other locations, Ventura offers a beachfront lifestyle. It’s home to five colleges, making it ideal for parents of high schoolers or college students.
- Oakland: If you want to live near San Francisco without paying as hefty a price tag, you might consider buying a home in Oakland. In recent years, unemployment in this city has gone down, which is a sign of a strong market.
Four ways to get a great deal on a home in California
Buying your home at the right time is a must to obtain the best deal, but it's only part of the equation. It's important to take additional steps to secure the best price for your California home.
Here are four ways to get a good deal when buying a home in California:
1. Find a great California real estate agent
You can start searching house listings on your own to learn about a particular city, but later on you'll want to consult an expert, like one of our Clever Partner Agents. A local real estate agent can provide insight into the best time to buy a house in California and can help you find neighborhoods that may fit your needs.
2. Determine what you need and want in a house
Once you hire an agent, you need to discuss your budget, your preferred neighborhoods, and other details. Your real estate agent needs to know what you're looking for in your dream house. This information will be the starting point of your house hunt.
3. Find a lender and secure financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in California, interest rate is one of the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing some upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in California a typical house is worth $599,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $2,137. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $2,020.
4. Negotiate the best possible price
After you find your dream home, your realtor will help you submit an offer on the property. A knowledgeable real estate agent will guide you through the negotiations, ensuring that you pay a fair price in the current market conditions.
If you're looking for a realtor, Clever can connect you with the top buyer's agents in your area for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Fill out our online form, and a Clever representative will reach out to get the process started and answer any questions you have.