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When Is the Best Time to Sell a House in Washington?

If you're thinking of selling your Washington home in 2020, here are the best (and worst) times of year to do it, by the numbers.

If you're thinking of selling your Washington home in 2020, here are the best (and worst) times of year to do it, by the numbers.

Updated March 24, 2020

When selling a home in Washington, timing isn't everything; however, it can certainly influence how long it takes and the price you're ultimately able to get.

If you have some flexibility with your sale, it's worth doing some market research to boost your chances of getting the best outcome possible.

The best month to sell a house in Washington is May. Washington homes sold in May sell 12 days faster and for $18,917 more than the respective annual averages.

Of course, this is just a small piece of the overall picture. Below, we've compiled some of the most important data to consider before deciding when to sell your Washington home, including monthly inventory, sale prices, sale-to-list ratios, days on market, and more.

The best time of year to sell a house in Washington

Determining the “right” time to sell your house is somewhat subjective, as it really depends on your specific goals and circumstances. That said, if you're like most sellers — i.e., your top priorities are selling high and fast — here's when you should list your Washington house.

Best month to sell a home in WashingtonTypical sale price premiumDays sold faster than average
May$18,91712 days

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan-Dec 2019

Importantly, these trends can vary from region to region. The table below shows the most lucrative months to sell for five major cities in Washington.

CityBest month to sellTypical sale price premium
SeattleMay$45,000
TacomaJune$14,833
OlympiaJune$13,333
VancouverAugust$15,500
BellevueJune$99,167

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan-Dec 2018

Washington real estate market trends

Zooming back out to the national level, housing market activity — that is, the number of active listings and sales — is cyclical, peaking in late spring and hitting its annual low towards the end of the year.

Active listings and volume of home sales since 2016

Source: Realtor.com, Jul 2016-Feb 2020

As you can see above, the overall volume of pending sales — which is a good gauge of buyer demand — reliably spikes in May. So is listing in late spring always going to be the best move? Not necessarily.

That corresponding spike in inventory (number of active listings) also means more competition. Depending on factors like your property's age, condition, location, etc., this could actually make it more difficult and/or expensive to sell.

Moreover, these trends vary considerably on state, regional, and local levels. To provide a more comprehensive picture of seasonal housing market trends in Washington, we've compiled some of the most important data points below, along with some simple definitions and advice.

Median sale price in Washington by month

Month with highest median sale priceMedian sale pricePremium over annual average
May$461,000$18,917

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

Median sale prices can help you understand when home sale prices for Washington homes are typically at their annual high and low. When you zoom out and look at median sale prices over the course of a larger span of time — say, several years — it can also indicate broader trends, like home value appreciation and increasing buyer demand. The graph below shows median sale price trends in Washington during 2019.

MonthMedian sale price in Washington
January$409,000
February$431,000
March$440,000
April$452,000
May$461,000
June$459,000
July$448,000
August$445,000
September$432,000
October$440,000
November$440,000
December$448,000
Annual average sale price in Washington$442,083

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

Median sale-to-list ratio by in Washington month

Month with highest sale-to-list ratioSale-to-list ratioAverage annual sale-to-list ratio
May100.40%99.73%

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

>> MORE: Strike quick on a hot market with a faster way to sell your home for top dollar.

Sale-to-list ratio is a home's final sale price divided by its list price, typically expressed as a percentage. If the number is above

100%, that means the home sold for more than its initial list price. Conversely, numbers below 100% mean the home sold for less than asking price.

When you look at the median sale-to-list ratio across a given market, it helps illustrate the degree of competition or demand among buyers in that area. This can tell you a lot about current market conditions — i.e., whether it's a buyers or sellers market — and give you a sense of how much leverage you'll have when it comes to offers and negotiations.

MonthMedian sale-to-list ratio in Washington
January98.80%
February99.20%
March99.70%
April100.40%
May100.40%
June100.40%
July100.10%
August99.80%
September99.60%
October99.50%
November99.40%
December99.40%
Average annual sale-to-list ratio in Washington99.73%

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

Median days on market (DOM) in Washington by month

Fastest month to sell in WashingtonMedian DOMDays sold faster than average
May12 days12 days

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

Days on market — or DOM — is commonly defined as the number of days from when a property is officially listed on a multiple listing service (MLS) and a sales contract is signed.

When a market has a low median DOM, that's usually an indicator of favorable conditions for sellers, i.e., a high demand among buyers. Conversely, a higher median DOM signifies low demand, meaning less favorable conditions for sellers. Remember, seasonality can be a big factor, particularly in regions with bigger weather swings throughout the year. Moreover, demand can vary considerably from neighborhood to neighborhood. Talk to your realtor for an accurate read on current — or seasonal — market conditions in your area, specifically.

MonthMedian days on market in Washington
January46 days
February42 days
March26 days
April15 days
May12 days
June13 days
July16 days
August19 days
September21 days
October22 days
November26 days
December32 days
Annual average DOM in Washington24 days

Source: Redfin Data Center, Jan 2019-Dec 2019

When should you sell your Washington home?

Sometimes life changes — expected or not — can require selling during a slower month or time of year. That's ok! The most important factor in deciding when to sell your house is you. Consider your own needs, financial situation, and timeline above everything else.

If your reason for selling is relatively flexible — say, you're looking for a bigger house or more convenient neighborhood — it might be worth trying to time your sale; however, waiting for peak market conditions isn't worth missing, say, a great job opportunity or putting off an important life goal, like retirement.

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