Home Buying

Report: When is the best time to buy a home in New England?

October may be a great time to buy compared with the spring, but these months offer you more for your hard-earned dollar.

When is the best time to buy in Massachusetts? BillionsPhotos.com - Fotolia

Massachusetts home buyers get the best deals in December, according to an analysis by ATTOM, a national property database firm, released Oct. 7.

In that holiday month, buyers experience a premium of -2.6 percent. What about the other New England states? The ATTOM analysis found:

  • Connecticut: -3.5 percent in December
  • Rhode Island: -1.6 percent in October
  • New Hampshire: -3.1 percent in January
  • Vermont: 1 percent in December (there were no negative numbers for this state, so the next best “bargain” is a lower positive percentage)
  • Maine: 4.7 percent in November (there were no negative numbers for this state, so the next best “bargain” is a lower positive percentage)

The analysis of more than 33 million single-family home and condo sales over the past eight years is evidence of the continuation of a hot sellers’ market. ATTOM looked at any calendar day in the past eight years (2013 to 2020) with at least 10,000 single-family home and condo sales. There were 362 days, including leap year data, that matched this measure, with the four exceptions being Jan. 1, July 4, Nov. 11, and Dec. 25. To calculate the premium or discount paid on a given day, ATTOM compared the median sales price for homes with a purchase closing on that day with the median automated valuation model for those same homes at the time of sale.


Nationally, according to ATTOM, home buyers can the best deals on these days:

  • Dec. 5 (1.6 percent)
  • Dec. 26 (2 percent)
  • Jan. 6 (2.2 percent)
  • Nov. 9 (2.3 percent)
  • Dec. 31 (2.4 percent)

Compare that with May:

  • May 23 and 27 (17.4 percent)
  • May 20 (16.6 percent)
  • May 16 (15.6 percent)
  • May 19 (15.4 percent)

According to the study, the states realizing the biggest discounts below full market value were:

  1. Delaware (-7.9 percent in February)
  2. Tennessee (-7 percent in January)
  3. New Jersey (-4.9 percent in February)
  4. Maryland (-4.8 percent in November)
  5. Ohio (-4.8 percent in January)
  6. Michigan (-4.1 percent in November)
  7. Hawaii (-4 percent in June)
  8. Connecticut (-3.5 percent in December)
  9. Illinois (-3.1 percent in February)
  10. New Hampshire (-3.1 percent in January)

Regardless of those “discounts,” Barbara Corcoran, a real estate agent best known as a panelist and executive producer of ABC’s “Shark Tank” reality show, finds that “Most people are priced out of the market.”

“It just seems unfair to feel like you have to be a pro investor bidding up the prices,” Corcoran said in an interview Bloomberg published on Oct. 6. “I’ve never seen an increase like” the pandemic-related surge in U.S. home prices, she said.

For example, U.S. home prices surged 19.7 percent in July, once again posting the biggest jump in more than 30 years, according to a Sept. 28 tally of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values. This followed an 18.7 percent jump in June and was the 14th straight month of accelerating price increases.

“The market has been going absolutely bonkers with no end in sight,” Corcoran said. “Everything is being sold in bidding wars. I’m just hoping that the prices cool down a bit because so many people are left out of the market.”


She doesn’t see ballooning home prices causing the same sort of financial chaos kicked off by a mortgage crisis more than a decade ago.

“It is not the same kind of market. Today’s market is fueled by individual buyers who want a better place to live,” Corcoran said. “When we had that drop-off, it was fueled by investors, house flippers, poor mortgages. It was a false market, with a false bottom, and it fell. We’re not going to have that now.”

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