If you've lived in the Greater Boston area, or done research on the housing market here, you will notice that it is incredibly seasonal in nature. The conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t buy your home in the winter because no one wants to buy a home and move during the holidays. But, in an area with a perennially low supply of inventory--like Boston, Brookline, or Newton--buyers can have success searching in the winter months and avoid a lot of the headaches that come with searching during other times of year.
Many sellers opt to wait and sell in spring or even take their homes off the market during the fourth quarter. This leads to a lower supply of inventory, but it also leads to a general taper in the number of buyers who are looking for a home. In short, there will be fewer options out there, but there will be much less competition.
You should note two other things: sellers who keep their homes on the market during the winter typically do it because they have to sell on a certain timeline (which means you might be able to get a "deal," which typically doesn't exist in the Boston area. The other thing is this: sellers who have withdrawn their listings for the winter months have probably only done so to keep the listing from getting "stale"--they will probably still sell it off-market if a qualified buyer is interested!
Don't let the cycle of the market dictate your buying schedule. If you're ready to buy now, get out there and look! If you are super picky, you will likely have very little to choose from....but if you are a buyer who can be creative and flexible, get ready to find a great deal and avoid the multiple-offer battles that always come with the spring market.
Call me today if you're interested in starting your search.