Unique Opportunities: A Look At The Spring Season In Nontraditional Markets


Tradition dictates that April and May are the hottest months for the housing market but there are unique opportunities in parts of the country where that isn’t necessarily the case.

Rick Sharga, president & CEO of CJ Patrick Company in Trabuco Canyon, California, says that although there is truth to the idea that home sales increase as the weather improves, there are exceptions to the rule.

“Markets with a late spring – cold weather states in particular like Alaska or North Dakota – might have a later start to the traditional home selling season, while markets with more temperate clients like California and Hawaii may not be quite as dependent on changing seasons to encourage home buyers and sellers from coming out of their winter hibernation,” Sharga told The Mortgage Note.

Sharga said it’s important for industry professionals to understand buying patterns in their markets and run their businesses accordingly.

“Real estate agents and mortgage professionals need to be experts about trends and timelines in their local markets. Just because it’s technically spring doesn’t mean buyers are going to flock to the market if there’s a foot of snow on the ground,” Sharga said.

Sharga said the most successful agents and mortgage pros know that sales and marketing is a year-round effort. So while they might need to prepare for increased volume during peak sales seasons — whenever they occur in a given market — they should always be looking for the next listing or loan applicant.

Southern Nevada is a place where potential homebuyers and sellers don’t have to wait to put away their snow shovels and boots before thinking about hitting the market.

That comes with its advantages and drawbacks, according to Cole Wilson, a senior loan officer at Guild Mortgage in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas.

“As you know, the spring season here in Las Vegas is generally short. It could be 85 degrees here one day, then 100 degrees plus for the foreseeable future,” Wilson told The Mortgage Note. “We do however see springlike weather earlier than most, which I believe is an advantage since we find buyers shopping early.”

Wilson said that he’s realized that traditionally once a client decides it’s time to buy, they’ll normally stay in the market until it happens regardless of the weather.

And the weather may not be the only thing contributing to a nontraditional market in Las Vegas this year. Like many other parts of the country, the city is cooling down after a pandemic frenzy.

According to data from Redfin, Las Vegas home prices in March were down 6% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $395K. There were 1,173 homes sold in March this year, down from 1,655 last year.

Lori Galarza, broker/owner at RE/MAX CENTRAL in Las Vegas, says she still sees a lot of potential despite these current market challenges.

“There’s always unique opportunities in every market. When things aren’t traditional, we work closer with our clients to find solutions. Through that process, we create stronger bonds and relationships for present as well as future business. Being experienced, most of us understand that the market ebbs and flows,” Galarza said.

Another example of a nontraditional market is Arizona, where the weather is typically dry and hot year-round. 

They, too, have seen the economic impact of a post-pandemic slowdown which is affecting their spring selling season this year.

Lisa Lucky, an agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale, told The Mortgage Note “We have seen inventory extremely low in certain neighborhoods during this spring season. Sellers are more resistant to selling and downsizing/upgrading due to the lack of available supply and keeping the current low-interest rates on their existing mortgages.”

Scottsdale home prices were down 2.5% compared to last year in March, selling for a median price of $795K. There were 616 homes sold, down from 807 last year, according to Redfin data.

What about places like tropical Hawaii?

Courtney Brown, vice president at Island Sothebys Realty in Lahaina, Hawaii, told The Mortgage Note they typically have an extended selling season.

“Business tends to be very busy during the winter months and early spring, as well as in the summer,” Brown said.

Lahaina home prices were up 12% compared to last year in March, selling for a median price of $867K. There were 25 homes sold, down from 38 last year, according to Redfin data.

Mike Dilks, a realtor/agent with Carvill Sotheby’s International Realty in Kailua, Oahu, agreed that there are more potentially busy months in Hawaii than on the mainland.

Dilks said that “without a traditional spring season, Hawaii realtors are always working.”

“Aside from my own clients, there are always new listings to see and pending sales to follow. I’m always tracking today’s home values and where tomorrow’s values potentially could be. It is in constant flux and that keeps it exciting,” Dilks said.

But even in Hawaii, there are traditional factors that drive people to the market.

Ian Kemsley, vice president, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Central Pacific Bank in Honolulu, said they see an uptick in interest in the spring because families are looking to relocate during the summer months.

“It’s not due to weather but to parents getting situated in a new home prior to the school year beginning in the fall,” Kemsley said.

Sharga said that, by in large, even with weather-based variations, most states do see sales peak during the spring and summer because a high percentage of homeowners have families so the timing of the school year has an impact on every market.

“Parents tend to be reluctant to disrupt the school year for their children, so homebuying towards the end of the school year and moving before the next one starts has been the preference for many families and seems to be one of the main drivers of housing market seasonality,” Sharga said.

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