Homes are selling within days in many U.S. metros, and the day a home is listed can have an impact on time on market and sale price

SEATTLE – In today’s competitive housing market, the time it takes to sell a home is measured in days, not weeks. Homes listed on a Thursday sell faster on average and are more likely to sell above list price than those listed on any other day of the week, a new Zillow® analysis reveals. And while this spring selling season may not look so different from the rest of the year as the pandemic-fueled market has stayed red-hot through traditional slow periods, Zillow recommends listing your home before Labor Day based on historical market trends.

Why the day of the week matters for home listings

Homes listed on a Thursday typically go pending faster than any other day of the week, all else equal. Those that are put up for sale on a Sunday tend to sit on the market longest, eight days longer than Thursdays. Saturday and Monday are only marginally better — homes listed on either of those days typically take seven days longer to sell than homes listed on Thursdays.

Jeff Knipe, president of Knipe Realty in Portland, Ore., always recommends his clients list homes on a Wednesday or Thursday. “Home shoppers I work with tend to be most active on Thursday and Friday as they plan their weekend tour schedules. With the market as competitive as it is today, this timing strategy gives sellers the best chance at seeing multiple offers on their home, from my experience,” Knipe said. “Think of selling a home as if you’re going fishing; the goal is for the most possible fish to see your home as it enters the pond.” 

Thursday listings also are most likely to sell for more money. Zillow’s research shows that homes listed on a Thursday are more likely to sell above their asking price than those listed on any other day of the week, while homes listed on either Saturday or Sunday were the least likely to sell above list. 

In today’s market where half of homes are selling within a week, a few days can make a difference. “A home sitting even for one week without a sale in this market can signal to buyers that they may be able to get a small discount,” Knipe adds. “A good strategy for buyers who want to avoid getting into a bidding war could be to target homes that have been on the market for a week or two, or even those listed over the weekend that are less likely to sell quickly.”

Sellers may have caught on already — nationally, 21% of homes are listed on a Thursday, which is more than any other day of the week. The savviest sellers are in Seattle and Portland, Ore., where more than a third of homes are listed on a Thursday, the highest shares in the country among large markets. Only 13% of homes are listed on a weekend, which is less than any individual weekday.

Is spring still king?

Spring is typically the best time of year to list your home for sale, at least in years before the pandemic-fueled housing boom, when buyers tend to come out of winter hibernation and hit the market in droves. Homes listed during the weeks of March 11 and 18 had the fastest sales of 2019.

Labor Day is the traditional end to home shopping season, and a time when homes tend to sit on the market the longest as parents aim to be settled in their new home before their kids head back to school. The worst time to list for those looking for an above-list sale in 2019 were the weeks of October 14 and 21, when homes were least likely to sell above their asking price.

However, today’s housing market is anything but typical. Unrelenting buyer demand has pushed homes to sell at a breakneck pace even through what are typically slower months. Homes typically take a few days longer to sell in the winter than at the height of the spring selling season, but that pattern was reversed last year. The market has picked up the pace even more since then, and the share of sales happening above list price is more than double what it was pre-pandemic. 

“The housing market has had its foot on the gas since last summer, never entering its usual winter hibernation,” said Zillow Group economist Nancy Wu. “It remains an open question whether 2021 will bring a return to normalcy in that sense, but it’s likely that seasonality in the housing market will remain in some form, even if the changes from season to season are less dramatic than in the past.”

In addition to steady demand and low inventory, the increased adoption of real estate technology likely has played a role in seasonal housing trends becoming less impactful. Buyers can more quickly narrow down their options rain or shine, freeing them from having to wait for the traditional weekend open house and potentially braving the elements to do so in the winter. A large majority (79%) of Americans say they’d like to use virtual tours, such as Zillow’s 3D Home tours, when they shop for a home. Sellers looking to sell quickly can take advantage of these tools as well — listings with a Zillow 3D Home tour sold, on average, 10% faster than listings without.

“Technology has made it easier for home shoppers to confidently say that a home on the market is the right fit for them or more quickly rule them out,” Knipe said. “Shoppers can get a clear picture of the home’s layout and neighborhood online to narrow down their options. By the time shoppers look at a home in person, they’re usually already giving strong consideration to putting in an offer, which helps make the market more efficient.”