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Could January be the New April for Home Shopping?

December 22 2019

A new analysis says "yes" in 20 large metro areas

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 18, 2019 -- Historically, April launched the kickoff of the home shopping season as buyers would come out of their winter hibernation looking for their new home. However, the spring shopping season now starts in January for many of the nation's largest markets, according to new research released today by

The analysis is based on average monthly views per listing on® from 2015 to 2019. In 2015, the peak month for average views per listing on® was April, while January lagged behind by a substantial 16 percent.

In contrast, for 2019, the month of January fell 1 percent below February for most monthly views per listing on®. And January surged to the top in 20 of the 100 largest metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Jose, Calif., and Denver. In 2018, that was true for just three of the top 100 metros.

"As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier," said® Senior Economist George Ratiu. "With housing inventory across the U.S. expected to reach record lows in 2020, we expect to see this trend continue into the new year."

As of November, the number of homes for sale across the country was down 9.5 percent year-over-year. Additionally, the inventory of entry-level homes priced below $200,000 shrunk by an astonishing 16.5 percent year-over-year.

The shift to January's newfound popularity does not mean that the other prime spring months have become less competitive.® data shows that views per listing used to ramp up into spring, but now competition starts high in January and stays high.

For example, in 2018, March, the most competitive month, had 21 percent more views per listing than the least competitive month, January. In 2019, that gap between most-and least-competitive months narrowed to a difference of just six percent. What used to be a lopsided bias for April is now a feverish search starting in January, staying consistently competitive across the first four months of the year as hopeful homebuyers look for just the right home.

Locally, Seattle had the greatest spike in home shopping in January 2019, with views per property 32 percent higher than the next-highest month. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas; San Francisco; Atlanta; and San Jose, Calif. metros rounded out the top five markets where January was the most competitive month in 2019.

Top Markets Where January was the Most Competitive Month in 2019

rdc January New April for Home Shopping


Views per listing are defined as the average monthly page views per property listed for sale on®, cited here at the national and metro area levels.

About®®, The Home of Home Search, offers the most MLS-listed for-sale listings among national real estate portals, and access to information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Through its Opcity platform,® uses data science and machine learning to connect consumers with a real estate professional based on their specific buying and selling needs.® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today is a trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers by making all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable.® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit®.