December's price freeze creates best opportunity for homebuyers

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Among the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, home prices hibernate and offer consumers the best time to buy a house, according to Attom Data Solutions.

If consumers want to avoid bolstered prices they should sidestep the home purchasing hotbed of late spring and early summer when demand peaks. Nationally, December presents the lowest premium to Attom's average property valuation of 1.2% versus June's high premium of 7.1%.

For mortgage originators, marketing to these possible buyers could add some incremental business during a slow time of the year.

Just like at retail stores, the post-holiday rush comes with markdowns and three days of the year offer discounts over median values. Home sale prices on Dec. 26 were 0.3% lower than Attom's automated valuation model, while Dec. 1 and 4 both had discounts of 0.1%.

"Closing on a home purchase the day after Christmas or on New Year's Eve can be one of the most financially beneficial holiday season gifts you can get," Todd Teta, chief product officer with Attom Data Solutions, said in a press release. "While lots of folks are shopping the day-after Christmas sales or getting ready to ring in the new year, our data shows that buyers and investors are buying homes on those days at a discount. That's a far cry from buying during June, when they are likely paying about a 7% premium."

At the state level, a quintet boasted discounts below full-market value above 5% in certain months. Ohio's 7.4% discount in January is the largest of the bunch. Followed by Michigan's 7.2% and Delaware's 6.3% in February, Tennessee's 6.2% in January and New Jersey's 5.8% in December.

Attom's data consists of more than 23 million single-family home and condo sales covering the six-year span from 2013 to 2018. It analyzed every calendar day with at least 10,000 sales and compared the median sales prices with the median automated valuation model for those same homes at the time of close. A total of 362 days met the parameters, with Jan. 1, July 4, Nov. 11 and Dec. 25 as the only exceptions.

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