The time of year you buy your house can affect pricing a great deal. In some states real estate sales slow down in the winter months and sellers will be more open to offers they may not have considered in the spring or summer markets.
If you are going to buy a new home from a builder, the best time of year to buy a home is fall through early winter. Builders usually start discounting their existing inventory or offering extra incentives around September. Those discounts are only around until their inventory of homes for sale drops to just a couple in any neighborhood.
When spring rolls around they often raise prices both as a response to inflation and in anticipation of high demand during the summer.
In most real estate markets, the summer is the time most people will purchase a new home. This means that the sellers can increase prices a little, and be less willing to give you closing costs credits. Sometimes your situation will not let you choose what time of year you want to purchase your home, and in those case you may have to bite the bullet and purchase when the market is hot.
In the state of California for example. November and December tend to be the slowest two months of the year for real estate. Durring these months, buyers have more leverage than usual, and can ask the seller to come off the asking price by a larger amount and have a greater chance of the offer being accepted.
Keep in mind that when you are trying to figure out when the best time of year to sell your home that most of you will be buying a new home and taking out a mortgage on that property. If you decide to wait 6 months until the time of the year is usually better for your specific area that mortgage interest rates will change during this time you wait also. Interest rates have been on the rise and there is always the chance that you may end up having to accept a much higher interest rate by waiting to sell your home. So making an extra 5 or 10k from the sale of your home and accepting an interest rate that is considerably higher because you waited to put your home on the market may end up costing you more in the long run.
There are advantages and disadvantages to buying either when the market is hot or when it is slow. While you may get better deals during the slow months, you will also have less selection (less homes for sale). In a hot market you may be more likely to get into a bidding match with another buyer, but there is also a much greater selection. If you loose that house there will be more like it available.
May thru July are often popular times to get a home as people are using tax refund money towards down payments or closing costs.
In the northern climates you will probably find the best deal in the winter months.
Typically the average house price falls during the months of October through March and the largets price increases are made in Spring and Summer. Depending on the local market you could save as much as 7% to 10% by purchasing in January when most people are not shopping for a home.