Best Time to Sell a House in Portland – 2020 Update

best time to sell a home in real estate

In 2020, the Portland real estate market is split. Some parts of the Portland real estate market are cooling and are firmly considered a buyer’s market, while other segments of the Portland real estate market are still hot and considered a seller’s market. See our full 2020 Portland real estate market forecast here. In general, Portland condos downtown are in the buyer’s market category (your best buy in Portland right now) and many luxury homes in the Portland market (not all areas, but most) are in the buyer’s market category. But anything close to the city under 450K in price is most likely firmly in a seller’s market.

All of the above will continue for the entire 2020 year, but at the same time experience strong seasonal highs and lows. This means a home or condo typically in a buyer’s market could sell fast at the right time of year, but will be almost impossible to sell in the wrong time of year. Similarly, a reasonably priced home will always be easy to sell, but will likely result in multiple offers during the best time of year and may only get one offer in the real estate market off-season. So while the overall trend and forecast of the Portland real estate market is significant, so is the seasonal highs and lows of the year, even down to the month of the year, and will have a powerful impact on your next home sale or purchase.

 

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Best Time to Sell a Home
Month by month breakdown of the best time to sell a home

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Best time to sell your home in Portland (by month):

January

Pros:

  • Low Inventory – buyer traffic isn’t great, but inventory is so low that a lot of properties sell in Jan. that didn’t in Dec. or Nov.
  • New Year Effect – buyers often think about their New Years plans and start looking only to fall in love with something and buy it sooner than expected. This New Year effect is nice for home sellers as it brings on a new wave of buyers that weren’t there before.

Cons:

  • Weather can be bad and stop showings for a few days or a week, depending.
  • Buyer traffic is still low.

Tips: The first week of Jan. is still part of the holiday hang-over. Typically we recommend waiting to start a new listing until at least the second week of Jan. If you have a luxury home or a property that might for some reason be difficult to sell, then Jan. is fantastic time to start your listing. Don’t delay. The best part of the year to sell a home is Jan. through May and starting in January gives you a long runway – if your home needs it – to make sure you can sell. Also if you’re bound and determined to try to sell for the highest possible price, put your home on the market in Jan. This will give you plenty of time to make a price adjustment (if needed) and still have great real estate market time ahead of you.

February

Pros:

  • Low Inventory – buyer traffic increases from January as well.
  • No major holidays to work around. Most buyers will be in town.

Cons:

  • Weather could still be bad at times in the Portland area.
  • Buyer traffic is increasing, but not near a peak level yet.

Tips: There really isn’t a great reason not to sell a home in February. It is a fantastic real estate market month in our area. The only possible reason I could see delaying is if you are absolutely certain your property would sell in a weekend, meaning you’re in a really hot neighborhood or area. Then you might want to wait until buyer traffic hits its absolute peak. But if you’re not 100% confident your home will sell immediately – list in Feb! This gives you plenty of fantastic real estate market time ahead of you to sell.

March

Pros:

  • Best month of the year to sell a home in 2020.
  • Inventory will remain low but buyer traffic will be close to peaking.
  • Multiple offers are common (depends on pricing and area).
  • Weather is improved, gardens are starting to bloom.

Cons:

  • Really there are no cons, but if you are in a heavily appreciating neighborhood you might want to hold off until April or May to sell, still getting a good market season, but gaining a little more appreciation before going on the real estate market. But I wouldn’t choose this option unless you’re absolutely certain of a quick sale, otherwise pick March to sell or before if you can.

Tips: The National Association of Realtors recently reported that the best week to sell a home in the country is the last week in March. Now, typically the real estate market isn’t that specific, but it is true that the high point of the year in our area, basically every year is March and April.

April

Pros:

  • Weather is as good as it gets in Portland (often).
  • Gardens are blooming, even more than in March.
  • Buyer traffic is very close to peaking.
  • Multiple offers are common (depending on price and area).

Cons:

  • Inventory is up some from March

Tips: April is the perfect time to sell a home if you know it will sell fast.

May

Pros:

  • May is the last month of the best overall season to sell a home – Jan. through May.
  • Weather is fantastic.
  • Inventory has increased for the last two months, but it still at reasonable levels.
  • Buyer traffic has peaked.

Cons:

  • Inventory is up from April.

Tips: It is totally fine to start selling your home in May, but do price it to sell. Don’t get too aggressive with your price tag because inventory is increasing and will be even higher next month in June.

June

Pros:

  • Weather is typically good.
  • Buyer traffic is outstanding. You also get a new wave of buyers looking for good school districts for next year for their kids.
  • Most of the appreciation your area (if your area is appreciating) will gain for the entire year has happened by June.

Cons:

  • Not everything sells because inventory is very high.

Tips: If you need to start your listing in June (it is understandable, a lot of people want to wait until June to get their home ready for market), then make sure you price it right. There are a ton of buyers and and a ton of homes for them to pick from, simply make sure that they pick yours! Price is king in any market.

July

Pros:

  • Buyer traffic is still high.
  • Motivated buyers need to make their final selections to get settled before the new school year.

Cons:

  • Weather is bad, too hot for many buyers.
  • Prices will drop metro wide.
  • Inventory is close to peaking.

Tips: If you need to start your home sale in July, no problem. But listen to this serious warning and price your home to sell because August is the worst month to sell a home outside of December. If you try to sell your home in July and it does not sell, things only get worse. So if you are putting your home on the market in July – get aggressive with the price (unless you can wait around for a long time) to ensure the many buyers still around in July pick your property.

August

Pros:

  • It is not December. Only December is a worse month to start a home for sale in our area.

Cons:

  • Inventory has peaked (it will stay at peak levels through at least half of September as well).
  • Weather is not good, too hot for many buyers.
  • Many home buyers are not around, they are on vacation.
  • Buyer activity has significantly decreased from July.
  • Prices are dropping across the metro.

Tips: Not everyone can pick when they have to put their home on the real estate market, but if you can avoid starting in August, you should. Also, keep in mind if you don’t sell in August, now is not the time to slash your price (unless you absolutely needs to sell fast) it is the time to be patient. If you wait (and it will be a while) there is a window in the fall real estate market that is better than August. It is okay to hang in there to sell, but be ready to be patient for that right buyer to come along.

September

Pros:

  • Inventory finally starts to fall by the end of this month.
  • Weather is often more reasonable than in August.
  • In some areas by mid-Sept. the local market will pick up.
  • Buyer traffic is medium, similar levels to August.

Cons:

  • Inventory is still at its absolute peak at the beginning on this month. It will fall right away in some areas, but in others will linger.
  • The first part of the month is the school swing and can significantly quiet some parts of the market.

Tips: It is okay to start a home sale in September, especially if you can’t wait until next January to sell. September isn’t a bad month to start because October will be better. The reasonable fall market is mid-Sept. through mid-November and a ton of homes sell in this season.

October

Pros:

  • Weather is typically decent.
  • Buyer traffic is medium.
  • Inventory is at medium levels as well (in most areas).
  • Motivated buyers will want to purchase before the holidays roll around.

Cons:

  • The window to sell is short. You do not want to still be on the market in December. Other than that though, unless you can wait until the next Spring market to sell, October is a good choice.

Tips: October is a fine month to sell, but once again make sure you are pricing your home to sell because the market will get very slow over the winter holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

November

Pros:

  • Inventory can be low in some areas. Often we see homes sell in Nov. that may have been trying since August, but there was always too much inventory in the way.
  • Buyer traffic remains reasonable, though may decrease some from October.

Tips: As you might imagine, the market slows down around the major holiday of Thanksgiving, but it may surprise home sellers to know that early November can be a good market. Also sometimes the home that waits it out the longest, sells, so watch your neighborhood’s inventory and you may want to keep trying to sell through early Dec. If everyone else drops off, you could find yourself as the only home for sale in your neighborhood – and that is always a powerful thing.

December

Pros:

  • Inventory is low in most areas.
  • The first couple of weeks in December still have buyers.

Cons:

  • Weather can be poor, keeping buyers home.
  • The Christmas season puts a halt to most buyer activity.

Tips: Unless a home seller really was forced to sell quickly, I would tell them not to start their listing in December, just wait a little longer, wait until things improve in January.

Picking a Real Estate Agent

We are a top 1% real estate team in Oregon and Washington and charge 4.5% Max. commission to sell while paying extra on the top websites (like Zillow) to feature your home so it sells faster and for more. We also back up our services with a cancel anytime policy for no charge. Read about everything we do to sell homes faster and for more here. We’d love to stop by and see your home in person.

January 24, 2020
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team. We work from Salem, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington and beyond. Check out our full services areas on the top menu.