Among the many possible winter activities, house hunting may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
"People focus on the holidays," says Julie Reynolds, vice president at Realtor.com, the official website of the National Association of Realtors. "In November, December and January — even October — the bulk of the activity dies down. It may not become dormant like a lot of trees, but it definitely slows."
Nevertheless, there can be advantages for buyers as demand drops along with the mercury.
The traditional homebuying season has run in lockstep with school calendars, Reynolds says, because parents seek to relocate with minimal impact on their children. This has meant that late in the school year through summer is the peak buying and moving season.
Changing demographics are putting that conventional wisdom to the test.
"The generations are changing and we are seeing millennials come of age, so to speak, and closer to the homebuying age," she says. "The median age of first-time homebuyers currently stands at about 30, and these new, hopeful property owners aren't as locked into traditional, seasonal patterns."
Breaking the mold can prove a valuable bargaining chip for cold-weather homebuyers. Just as warm weather is a boon for sellers, cold air means a buyers market.