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When is the best time to sell a home in Seattle

As part of the process for selling your Seattle home, you probably want to know if the time of year you list it for sale will have a potential impact on the sale price. So what is the best time to sell a home in Seattle?

The best time to sell your home in Seattle in terms of potentially getting the most money for your property is between March and May. Seattle home prices usually follow a seasonal cycle of peaking in the spring and then dropping off through the remainder of the year. Between the years 2017 and 2022, average sale prices were between 4.5% and 20.6% higher in springtime compared to the start of the year.

The best time for any individual home seller to list their home may not coincide with these months because of life plans like waiting for the school year to finish or the need to relocate in a hurry for a new job. But in general, if you are hoping to walk away with the most money for your home, then yes, in general, March through May tend to be optimal months to sell.

Let's look at how the median sales price of NW Seattle single-family homes has varied over the past 5 years. The price trend graph below shows where the home prices peaked and where they were the lowest for each year between  2017 and 2022. 

Seattle winter versus spring home prices

The table below compares the highest median price for each year with the corresponding lowest price at the start of the same year for Seattle homes listed for sale.

Percentage increase in Seattle home prices in springtime

Some observations on the best months to sell a Seattle home.

  • Based on the 5 years of data above, for the Seattle housing market, there is an annual cycle with single-family home prices peaking in the spring months and then dropping off over the fall and winter months. 
  • Average sale prices peaked in the spring period and were between +4.5% (in 2019)  and +20.6% (in 2022) higher compared to the prices at the start of the same year.
  • 2020 was an exception and we had a "delayed spring" in the fall. COVID appeared in March, everybody stepped back for a few months and then jumped back in with prices peaking in October.
  • In mid-2018 the market became hyper-competitive and buyers stepped back from the market. It took 2 years for home prices to return to the mid-2018 highs and spring of 2019 "only" say a 4.5% increase compared to the start of that year. A 4.5% increase is what you expect to see in a more balanced buyers-sellers market and it is still considered a good jump, but relative to the other 4 years, it was on the low side. 
  • Conversely, buyers will pay more for a home if they buy in the spring months. If they wait until the slower months homes should be a little more affordable but the selection of homes for sale will usually be more limited.
  • On the opposite side of the coin, most real estate agents agree that the worst times to sell a home in Seattle are the holiday months of November and December.  Buyers are just too busy and distracted with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other year-end holidays to focus on buying a home. Only those sellers who really need to sell their homes and can't wait until the new year will put their homes on the market at that time of year. 
  • In the Puget Sound area, August is also a bit of an odd month too. Most buyers are taking a break from looking for homes and trying to enjoy the last few good weeks of summer. Also, families with kids will have focused on purchasing earlier in the year so they are settled into a new home before the new school year begins.

Do these numbers mean that you should ONLY list your home in the peak spring months? NO! You should just list your home based on the timeline that works best for your needs. At the same time, it's best to avoid listing over the holiday months of November and December when prices bottom out for the year. 

So, to sum up regarding the best time of year to sell your home in Seattle, historically sale prices peak between March and May and then slowly drop off over the summer and winter months.

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