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To List or Not to List…In August

Agent Insight // Aug 14, 2014

Perhaps one of the most common misnomers regarding the Manhattan real estate market is that listing in August is unwise, and a waste of time. Most sellers believe that no one is searching for their new home in August and that the market will explode with activity after Labor Day.

After 22 years of selling Manhattan real estate, I can unequivocally state that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, inventory decreases in August, and yes it increases in September. In fact, from July to August of 2013, active listings decreased 6% from 4542 to 4275*. Signed contracts during the same period decreased 18%.  This year active listings have decreased by 4% and signed contracts have dropped 34%.  These numbers would seem to indicate that perhaps waiting until September is wise but take a look at this:

August Graph

Between September 1, 2013 and October 1, 2013, active listing inventory increased a very significant 16% while signed contracts CONTINUED their decline an additional 14% during the same period. And for what it’s worth, I have yet to experience a busy September.  I have, however, had many busy Augusts and I share with you first hand that our agents at CORE are ALL having a very busy month.

So should you list or not in the month of August? Consider the following:

1.  Inventory: analyze your property for specific competition and demand.

2.  Features: does your property or building have special summer amenities such as garden, pool, roof deck or terrace?

3.  Buyers: who are they? Are they likely away in August or might there be some shopping buyers?  Will they be “back” in September?

If you believe in a simple supply and demand economic model, then it stands to reason that listing in August and competing with fewer listings could indeed be a wise strategy. And if you decide to bring your property to market post Labor Day, expect a slow September with significant buyer activity not picking up until mid October. And, don’t forget all of those sellers who also think that August is a bad time to sell. 3,178 sellers this month would strongly disagree.

(* UrbanDigs.com via StreetEasy)