Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Academic Calendars and the Spring Real Estate Market

When I went to college, back in the dark ages, my first day of classes was on September 25th, and my graduation was on June 17th.  Things have certainly changed since then!  Most schools now gear up in late August, finish classes at the end of April, and hold commencement exercises in May.  Faculty members, who stop teaching in April, increasingly seem to travel in May, when the weather is nice, but the crowds are missing.

Our New Haven office in particular, which does more than half of its business with Yale affiliates, but all of our offices to some extent, run on an academic calendar, especially given that there are six colleges and universities in the immediate area.  We start to get relocation clients early in the year, often in January or February, after academic appointments start to go out.  Those people start looking right away, and we almost never have enough to show them, since sellers (and other real estate companies) seem to think that May is the time to list.  Actually, our biggest month for writing contracts in New Haven is March!  Once May rolls around, we find that things slow down some, and, after graduation, slow further.  This is less true on the Shoreline, where spring and summer still bring more buyers, but, even there, we see inventory shortages in the early spring.  In places where investment property, or property affected by taxes, the end of the year is also strong.

We now routinely tell sellers, especially in the City of New Haven, to get their homes ready to show by February.  That means, of course, that outdoor work needs to be done the summer and fall before they are ready to sell, since December and January are not ideal for that type of work, if it is even possible then.  This year, we took lots of listings earlier than in prior years, and most of them have sold by now, and many sold very quickly.  We are ready for a new round of listings now!

It obviously makes sense for sellers to be ready when buyers are beginning to look, especially if a house has features that might not stand up as well against a lot of other choices.  Therefore, consider this a clarion call to get your home buffed, fluffed, and ready to go, either when universities come back in the late summer, or next winter, when the new hires get made.  Why not take advantage of the cycle, even if it's not the same as what you may be used to from other places you've lived?