Sorry, Beyonce. The answer is simple and gender neutral.
Who runs the world? Kids.
Much of our economy is, in some form or fashion, driven by real estate. Not necessarily the standard buy/sell transaction, but the peripheral industries that are inherently tied to the process. This means everything from a family owned pest inspection company or local artisan, working from home to make gift baskets, to insurance or mortgage companies and, ultimately, The Fed.
This spiderweb of services exists only with consistent patronage, brought about by the decision of one person to sell and another to buy. Consumers don’t generally make these major financial decisions and commitments on a whim; there is generally some planning involved and that’s where kids come in.
Kids are bound to timelines, schedules and calendars, primarily centered on the school year. The type of calendar a school system keeps will vary, whether they’re using a traditional 9 month system or a variation of year round school, so timing and demand will vary between markets. To ease transitions, many parents plan to move during breaks from school. The most obvious of these is the summer vacation, but there are so many other opportunities and times that buyers, sellers and Realtors should consider.
Winter break is generally substantial, with several holidays taking place in a short timeframe, so some families will opt to use this period to transition. Additionally, the winter break usually occurs close to the end of the semester, so it is a great time to switch schools.
The shorter breaks should not be discounted, however. Depending on the market and financing method, the contract to close period could be 30–60 days and custom periods can often be negotiated. This means that your sellers should be preparing their homes for the market in mid-October and late January!
These are not the times we often think of as hot markets, as most of the focus is on the Spring and Summer but, when children are involved, Thanksgiving break and Spring break are crucial. Often, families will use these periods for House Hunting, so they will be browsing available properties and looking to visit their favorites during the flexible schedule of the holiday breaks. A contract at Thanksgiving means a Christmas close and a New Year Move! A contract over Spring break, means the end of of a school year and a new beginning in a new home!
Sellers looking to put their home on the market should be completing their punch list of repairs and final preparation in mid-October and late January. This allows their agent time to bring in a photographer and prepare marketing materials, so that the home can be in the MLS and live on the market just prior to these smaller, but crucial, breaks in the school year.
Obviously, there are plenty of market segments, when it comes to home-buyers. One of the fastest growing sub-categories of home buyers in 2016 is single women. First time buyers, regardless of whether they are parents, are an increasing demographic. More information on consumer statistics can be found in this great article from NAR.
However, aside from school-aged youngsters, there is a market for those preparing to start families, those whose families have outgrown their current living quarters and those who are downsizing their empty nest. For the foreseeable future, in one way or another, kids will continue to run the world.