That chill in the air means home deals are heating up. Here’s why winter is often the best time to buy.

If you’re considering buying a house, now could be the perfect time to start looking. That’s because the real estate market tends to slow down around this time.

According to a 2016 NerdWallet study that analyzed two years of listings and sales in the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, home sale prices — the amount a buyer actually pays — usually peak in the summer, dip in the fall, and are the lowest in the winter.

That means waiting for off-peak sale prices later in the year could potentially save you thousands of dollars. NerdWallet further reported that if you can defer buying past autumn until January or February, homes cost 8.45% less on average than in June through August. The study found that January had the cheapest sale prices in 29 of the 50 metro areas, while February had the cheapest prices in 19 areas.

One explanation for the better prices in winter is that there are fewer homes on the market, and fewer buyers. NerdWallet quotes Jonathon Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com, who pointed out, “You have 50% to 60% more inventory relative to the number of buyers, so there’s basically more options per buyer, and that translates into less competition.”

Additionally, real estate agents and loan professionals have more time and greater incentive to serve you when there’s less inventory than in spring and summer months.

Also, viewing a home in winter months can provide clues to what to really expect from it, such as energy efficiency. After a fresh snowfall, for instance, melting snow on the roof can reveal a home is losing heat versus a better-insulated home with unchanged fresh snow.

So remember, around the time the weather has you bundling up, you could be saving a bundle buying a home.

Apply for a mortgage by Oct. 31, 2017, and save $250 on your closing costs!

When you’re ready to buy a new home, we’ll help you every step of the way — from understanding your home-loan options to closing your loan. Enjoy professional guidance and great service from our mortgage partner, CU/America Financial Services, an Illinois-licensed credit union-owned mortgage company that has closed nearly $1 billion in residential first mortgages. Take advantage of great competitive rates on a wide range of mortgage products. Plus, we’ll help you obtain a fast mortgage preapproval (usually 1-2 days after all documentation is submitted) that can help you in the purchasing and negotiating process. To learn more or to apply, call CU/America Financial Services at 800.351.0449 and tell them you’re an Allsteel Credit Union member.

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