When buying interest peaked last year
If home searches on Trulia match up with the general interest in buying a home, then this map shows how that interest peaked from state to state last year.
In Maryland, the Trulia search peak came in August. But it was all over the board across the country. (More than half-a-dozen states peaked last January.)
But when did contract-signing peak? Or actual home sales? I've put together two graphs that tell the tale in the Baltimore metro area:
Both graphs draw on data from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, which runs the multiple-listing service in the region.
So: Contract signing peaked in June at just over 2,700, with a second pop in September and October -- nearly 2,700 contracts signed in each of those months.
It usually takes at least a month to go from contract to settlement, and can easily go longer. (Short sales in particular can drag on for months.) But settled sales also peaked in June -- 2,375 homes changed hands that month. The second pop for sales came in October and November, with both months topping 2,200.
I included 2008 on the sales chart so you can compare and contrast, and (if you'd like) debate about how the first-time home buyer tax credit changed normal seasonal buying patterns. (I don't have my Excel files here at home, or else I'd put together a chart that shows prior years, too. Looking up 12 months of data is about my limit in a single sitting when it has to be pulled one month at a time.)
Did you buy or sell last year? Share your timeline -- how long did it take to get from start to finish?