Here’s an interesting chart I pulled — it shows the median sold price for homes across Virginia over the past two years (blue for last year, red for this year; click to enlarge):

Median sale price

I would have expected a chart with this shape (up in summer, down in winter) to reflect the number of sales, not the sale price. And yet, the median sale price in January has been about $200K, and in June/July about $250K — so prices jump 25% in the summer!

What’s the deal?

Two other charts give some insight, but it’s still hard to draw conclusions. First, the asked/sold ration follows the same pattern — in the winter, sellers tend to get less than they asked for than in the summer.

It’s not a huge difference — about 97% of asking price in the winter and 98% in the summer. So if you ask $250K for a home, you’ll get $242,500 if it sells in January, but $245,000 if it sells in June. (I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind an extra $2,500 in my pocket.)

What’s the deal?

Asked/sold ratioWell, for the past couple of years at least, houses that sell in the winter have typically been on the market 20-30 days longer than those that sold in the summer (69-71 days vs. 37-47 days).

So you’ve got two things happening here.

1. The houses that go on sale in the spring tend to having higher asking prices than those that go on sale in the fall — a whopping 25% higher. (Could it be that spring sellers are more likely ‘volunteer’ sellers — people who are choosing to move, rather than being forced to by circumstance?)

2. The houses that go on sale in the spring tend to sell faster, and for closer to the asking price — about 30 days faster and 1% more.

The question is, is that something you can control? (Should you try to convince sellers to wait till April?) Or is that simply how the market works out because not many people have a choice about when they have to sell?