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Attention Bargain Hunters: The Best Time of the Year to Buy a Home Is...

Buying a home may be one of the most stressful, expensive, and frustrating things a person can do. But those who time their purchase just right may be able to save themselves heaps of hassle.

The best time of the year to buy a home is the week of Sept. 22, after the summer frenzy fades and kids have gone back to school, according to a recent® analysis. The first week of fall is when shoppers will find less competition but still more homes for sale, and more sellers slashing prices, than in the colder months.

The analysis covered the nation's 53 largest real estate markets from 2016 to 2018.

There's typically 26% less competition during the week of Sept. 22 through 28, the data show. Meanwhile, there's usually about 6.1% more inventory, and 6% of homes see price cuts, compared to an average week. This means that those homes cost about 2.4% less than at their peak. Nationally, prices tend to be the highest in the summer.

“As summer winds down and kids return to school, many families hit pause on their home search and wait until the next season to start again,"'s senior economist, George Ratiu, said in a statement. "With dramatically less competition, persistent buyers will feel the scales tip in their favor, as eager sellers begin to cut their prices in an effort to entice a sale."

Buyers in the West get an extra bit of a break this week. There's typically about 30% less competition for homes in the nation's priciest region, which includes states like California, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. Plus, buyers will find prices about 4% lower than normal, as 9% of listings have experienced price reductions. Finally, there are about 22% more homes than normal on the market in the region this week, giving buyers a lot more to choose from.

Denver buyers who are looking for a deal should pay particular attention this week. About 11% of listings in their metropolitan area, which includes Denver, and the surrounding towns and smaller cities, have undergone price cuts. That's compared to 6% of listings nationally,

Salt Lake City wasn't far behind, with 10.8% of price reductions; Seattle, at 10.2%; Austin, TX, at 9.9%; and Portland, OR, at 9.9%.

Meanwhile, the Seattle market leads the pack, with the most new listings during the fourth week of September, at 41% compared to an average week. Portland, OR, saw the next biggest increase, at 30.9%; followed by Silicon Valley's San Jose, at 28.6%; Denver, at 27.2%; and San Francisco, at 25.7%.

Nationally, there are about 116,000 more homes on the market during this week.

“As seasonal inventory builds up and restores itself to more buyer-friendly levels, fall buyers will be in a better position to take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates and increased purchasing power," Ratiu said.

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