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When's the best time to buy a house in Southern California? It depends on your priorities.
In recent years, listing prices for homes in California were lowest in April. On average, homes were $158,882 less expensive. While in November — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $165,094 more than the annual average.
Mortgage rates, on the other hand, were lowest in December. But with interest rates on the rise, it pays to explore your options with a trusted mortgage provider to make sure you get the best rate possible.
Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Southern California.
Best month for
11.5% lower than average
13.2% more homes to choose from
2.88% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (10/1/2020)
Bankrate data (12/1/2020)
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step is to connect with a realtor who knows the local market. Economic conditions in Southern California can change quickly, and a knowledgeable realtor will help you navigate the ups and downs.
A free service like Clever Real Estate can match you with top agents from trusted brands like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. Interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the perfect fit, or walk away at any time with no obligation. Add your zip code below to request hand-picked agent matches today!
When is the best time to buy a house in Southern California?
If your top priority is finding a great deal on a Southern California home, November and December are the best months to buy. But if you mostly want a move-in ready home that checks all your boxes, you're better off house hunting during the warmer months (generally March through August).
Unlike most states in the U.S., California's climate is moderate, so the seller season lasts much longer than it does in other areas.
For example, in Riverside, new inventory floods the market starting in March and doesn't stop until August. LA lasts even longer, from February to October. During these months, you'll have a large selection of properties to choose from, but you'll likely face stiff competition from other buyers.
As summer comes to an end and schools reopen, competition starts to decrease. If a home hasn't sold during the spring or summer, sellers are more likely to negotiate on price in November and December.
That said, it's important to remember that seasonal price trends can vary from year to year — and there may even be differences between cities. The best way to find a home in your target market is to connect with a local realtor. They'll help you navigate the ins and outs of your market and find the best time to buy a house in Southern California.
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Where are the best places to live in Southern California?
Temecula is a midsize desert town close to San Diego. It's more affordable than many of its neighbors, and the five-year appreciation of homes has been 8.1%. Lots of people choose to settle down here: over 80% of residents are married, and 47% have children under the age of 18.
Rancho Santa Margarita
With a population of about 50,000, Rancho Santa Margarita is approachable and charming. Low crime, good public schools, and proximity to the mountains make it an ideal place to start a family. The city also has a solid job market and economy.
This well-known Southern California city scores extremely well on livability factors, earning an A+ in the categories of public schools, low crime rate, weather, and proximity to amenities. Employment is high and wages are well matched with the cost of living.
This midsize city is nestled between Huntington Beach and Long Beach. Home prices are more affordable than in neighboring coastal towns and continue to rise at a slow, steady rate. Low crime and great public schools make this an attractive place to put down roots.
With almost no crime and amazing weather, Murrieta is a perfect city for young couples or singles looking for a social, eccentric city. Housing costs are high — similar to much of Southern California — but you’d be close to great amenities, reliable public transportation, and the beach.
Four ways to get a great deal on a home in Southern California
1. Find an experienced Southern California real estate agent
The best way to find a home that matches your criteria and budget is to connect with a local realtor. A great agent knows the market in Southern California and can help you effectively house hunt in the area, whether your priority is location, good public schools, a short commute, or low noise pollution.
2. Determine what you need and want in a house
Clearly outlining your criteria is vital in the early stages of home buying. An experienced realtor can provide guidance on what to look for in a home. The clearer you are with your goals, the more efficient your realtor can be when searching for your ideal home.
3. Find a lender and secure financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Southern California, interest rate is one of the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing some upfront research and comparing options to find the best rate could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in California a typical house is worth $599,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $2,137. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $2,020.
4. Negotiate for the best possible price
Once you find a home that fits your needs, it's time to place an offer. Your real estate agent will help you determine how much to offer to win the home without overpaying. They'll also guide you through negotiations with the seller.
If you're looking for a realtor, Clever can connect you with the top buyer's agents in your area for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Fill out our online form, and a Clever representative will reach out to get the process started and answer any questions.