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Houses come on the market all year round in NYC although you’ll see more activity in the spring and fall selling seasons. The luxury segment of the market slows down significantly during the late summer and winter months in NYC and the seasonal rhythms of the real estate market can be severely affected by hiccups in broader markets.
When Do Most Houses Go on the Market?
Most houses come on the market in early to mid-spring in NYC, generally from March to April. You will still see plenty of new listings in May, although activity usually begins decreasing in that month.
You’ll typically see a more pronounced drop in activity on and after Memorial Day in late May because many New Yorkers will have summer houses in the Hamptons or just be out of town on the weekends. This effect is especially pronounced for luxury listings, and even listings for more than $4 million or $5 million dollars. Even at this rather modest price range for New York City, many potential buyers will be escaping the city on the weekends, if not altogether for the summer.
The Memorial Day effect is less pronounced for more modestly priced properties, such as those costing less than $1 million or even $2 million. For this more affordable segment of the market, the pace of new listings and buyer activity remains relative constant post Memorial Day through June and parts of July. We’ll discuss in the next section what happens in July and August when NYC can become unbearably hot and activity slows to a crawl.
It’s important to note that autumn is an important selling season as well, even if it’s not as popular of a time as spring to list a home in NYC. Activity usually picks back up post Labor Day in early September, and hums along at a steady pace until Thanksgiving in late November. Once you get into December, there’s a noticeable decrease in activity which becomes especially pronounced towards the latter half of the month. We’ll discuss this slowdown in more detail in the next section.
Pro Tip: Say you’re searching during the dead of winter, in which case you’re bound to come across some very aged listings from the spring and summer. Should you buy an apartment that has been on the market too long? Read our article to learn more about this fascinating topic.
When Is Slowest Time in the NYC Real Estate Market?
The slowest time in NYC real estate occurs during the last two to three weeks of August though Labor Day, and during the last half of December.
The last two or three weeks of August are a notoriously slow period for many industries, including the finance industry which is a major part of the economy in New York City. Furthermore, Europeans are known to take the entire month of August off which further reinforces the global slowdown that occurs during this period.
New York can get unpleasantly hot during the summers, and it’s tough to get both agents and buyers out to see properties when their shirt will become soaked through with sweat. NYC suffers from the concrete effect, meaning the large amount of pavement and concrete present in the city absorbs sunlight and heat instead of reflecting or dissipating it. As a result, NYC becomes dramatically hotter than the surrounding countryside.
Embarrassingly enough, the subway system in NYC is quite dilapidated and outdated for such a supposed world class city. Many of the subway stations and even subway trains do not have air conditioning, so you can imagine how hot and sweaty it can get underground if you need to take the subway to a showing!
Similarly, business slows to a crawl in NYC real estate during the last half of December and doesn’t really begin to pick back up after the first week of January. This is quite reasonable considering that this time period is generally accepted worldwide, even by non-religious populations, as a time for vacation and to be with family.
New York can also get quite cold during the winter, and many New Yorkers will be gone during this time period and wintering in warmer havens such as the Caribbean or South America. For some weird reasons, New York’s winters oscillate between rather mild to as cold as Siberia. You truly never know what you’re going to get in NYC.
Since real estate brokerage is a client focused business, the number of new listings and activity in general will understandably decrease during this time period if buyers are generally not available or on vacation.
Pro Tip: Are you selling during a slow patch of the market? What are some ways to increase your home’s market visibility? Read our comparison guide to lowering home price vs increasing broker commission and find out which is a better strategy!