The Best Time to Buy a House in California

Thomas O'Shaughnessy

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Thomas O'Shaughnessy

March 3rd, 2021
Updated March 3rd, 2021

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You might be considering buying a home in California but don’t know when you should pull the trigger. Factors such as demand and time of the year can influence house prices and your options. Don’t know how to get the best deal? Read our article to learn when is the best time to buy in California.

best time to buy california

Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.

One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In California, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.

For example, this year listing prices for homes in California were lowest in April. On average, homes were $158,882 less expensive. While in November — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $165,094 more than the annual average.

In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in California.

Best Month For


Listing price
April
11.5% lower than average
Housing inventory
May
13.2% more homes to choose from
Mortgage rates
December
2.88% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)

If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in the home buying journey is getting preapproved by a licensed lender. Even if you’re already pre-approved, shopping around for lower rates can pay dividends over the life of the loan.

You can fill out the form below to be instantly matched with a licensed lender who knows the area and can guide you through the process.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a House in California?

While you may find your dream home at any time of the year, you should go house hunting during certain months of the year if you want to get the best deal. At a national level, the best days to buy a house is on Christmas Day followed by Easter Sunday.

Yet, these days may not apply in the state of California. The rule of thumb is that buying earlier in the year is the best approach. In California, you’ll find the highest number of listed homes from April to June.

Buying when more houses are on the market will help you buy your next home at the best price. If you aren’t in a rush or can’t find the right house during the spring season in California, you may get lucky during the winter season.

Most sellers who list their home during the winter months need to sell their house. You may be able to get a discount on the sale price and might not have to compete with other buying offers. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the state or know the neighborhood, an experienced real estate agent can provide guidance on timing your home purchase in California.

What Are the Best Cities to Buy a House in California?

Before buying a home, you must make an informed decision. It all starts with learning all you can about the cities you should consider during your home buying journey.

Don’t know where to start your house hunting? Here are the five best cities to buy a home in California in 2019.

  1. Oxnard: If you’re looking for a beachfront lifestyle at an affordable price, you should consider buying a home in Irvine, CA. The median price for houses is in the low $300,000 making it ideal for any buyer.
  2. 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 any California buyer.
  3. Sacramento: This city may be northeast of San Francisco but, it offers great and affordable houses. The majority of households are renters so you may consider renting your house if you decide to relocate in the long term.
  4. Ventura: Another city that offers a beachfront lifestyle without breaking the bank. It’s home to five colleges making it ideal for parents of high schoolers or college students.
  5. Oakland: If you want to live near San Francisco without paying a hefty price tag, you may consider buying your home in Oakland. In recent years, unemployment in this city has kept going down which is a sign of a strong market.

4 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Home in California

While buying your home at the right time is a must to obtain the best deal. House hunting during the best season is half the game. You must develop the right plan to buy your dream home in California at the best price.

Don’t know where to start? Here are four ways to get a great deal when buying a home in California.

1. Find a Great California Real Estate Agent

While you should search house listings on your own to learn about the city, you should consider consulting an expert such as our Clever Partner Agents. A local real estate agent can provide insight into the best time and neighborhoods that may fit your needs. Also, an agent can guide you through your buying process and negotiate the best pricing.

2. Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals

Once you hire an agent, you must discuss your budget, preferred neighborhoods, and other details. Your real estate agent needs to know what you are 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 rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little 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.

Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.

It’s easy to start your home buying journey – answer a few questions to get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.

4. Negotiate the Best Possible Price

After you find your dream home, your realtor will help you submit an offer on the property. Your agent will also negotiate the offer for the house after the home inspection to confirm you’re getting the best deal on your new home.

Learning the best time to buy a house in California is the first step to buy your dream house. Yet, you should consider consulting a real estate agent such as one of our local Clever Partner Agents.

Fill out our form to get in touch with one of our Clever reps. One of our representatives will call you to get more information about your needs to pair you with the right local Partner Agent. Our Clever Partner Agent will be in touch to provide a no-obligation consultation to provide insight about your home buying options in California.

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