Is December a good time to buy?

A glance at the chart that accompanies this article may tell you something: the balance of power between buyers and sellers, particularly when it comes to listings that came on the market in October or earlier, shifts during the holiday season. What’s more, the sales price as compared to the original price drops dramatically for sales negotiated during this period.

That figure drops even more precipitously for those listings that have already had one or more price reductions. During December 2013 and January 2014, the sales price to listing price ratio for price-reduced listings dropped to 88-91 percent and the percentage of total sales occurring on price-reduced listings increased from the rest of the year as well.

So what does this mean? December is a good period to negotiate better deals for those buyers who stay in the game during the holidays along with taking second looks at listings with lengthening days-on-market and back-on-markets and considering listings that have been withdrawn for the holidays.

Of the 476 listings that are currently classified as Active, 228 have been on the market for 48 days or longer. This might indicate that the sellers and listing agents are getting a little worried. In the last three weeks, another 94 listings have expired or been withdrawn from the market, and presumably those sellers still want to sell as well.

Keep in mind that seasonal as well as short-term fluctuations are not as significant as long-term trends. However, it is definitely worth keeping abreast of all of the above.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email