Will Snow Slow February Home Sales?

Posted on February 08, 2013 by Chris



Children love snow days because they mean hours of sledding instead of school. But heavy snowfall can also cause home sales to slow. If we get the heavy snow that some have predicted for February, we could see a temporary drop in sales.

Today, heavy snow is falling in New England. Folks up there might be under two feet of snow by tomorrow.

“There will be a dropoff in buyer activity,” Nancy Klopfer said on Thursday night. She’s a broker with Coldwell Banker in Albany, NY. “I’ve already had showings for the weekend that have cancelled. Other agents don’t want to be out selling houses in this weather.”

New England residents are used to heavy snows, of course. But the large number of vacant properties on the market these days presents an additional challenge: “You don’t want to take buyers to a house with an unplowed driveway,” Klopfer says.

The Washington region has been spared so far this winter. Contracts were up 5 percent in January, when we had little snow. It was, in fact, the best January since 2007.

But what will happen this month? Over the past 22 years, February’s sales were almost always higher than January’s. However, January beat February three times since 1991—in 2003, 2007, and 2010

Guess what happened those years? Snow.

In those three years, February was the month we got nailed with snowfall—29 inches in 2003 and 6 inches in 2007. Then we got 32 inches in February 2010. Sales dropped off as buyers stayed home.

The effect isn’t permanent, fortunately. Early in March 2010 I spoke to area Realtors. They told me buyers were out in force, eager to buy once the snow had gone.

Chris Sicks has reported on the Washington-Baltimore real estate market for 20 years. Contact him at csicks@gmail.com 

DC Metro Area, market analysis
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