Real estate agents have long known that the winter months provide a slight softening in the prices of homes. This is due to a number of factors. One is the simple fact that people, especially those in the more northern regions of the country, do not want to deal with the many hassles of moving when they have potentially sub-zero and blizzard-like conditions to contend with. Another factor is that people who have kids of school age typically will avoid removing their kids from a given school halfway through the year.

But even higher-end properties and condominiums tend to see slight reductions in prices over the winter months. More importantly, real estate prices almost never rise throughout the winter even in years with significant appreciation. The universality of this trend across the entire gamut of real estate offerings means that for those who can deal with the impositions of buying a new home between November and March, doing so may have some nice rewards.

recent article went through some of the hard evidence that there is a secular decline in home prices throughout the winter months. The most compelling of these pieces of evidence is an index known as the Case-Schiller Price Index, which tracks general real estate prices throughout the country, independent of the underlying composition of the property types that are selling.This index provides a way to adjust for the seasonal composition of home types, which can vary quite a bit. It shows that, even adjusted for the types of properties that are sold, there is a clear secular decline in home prices throughout the winter months. And this can often amount to a three to five percent savings for homebuyers that are willing to close transactions in this period.

Of particular interest is the fact that the Case-Schiller Price Index almost never increases throughout the winter months. And this is true even in years that have experienced tremendous appreciation in home prices, like 2012. This means that in years where sharp appreciation in home prices is likely, buying between November and March could save buyers more than 10 percent on their purchase price.

This is a good strategy to keep in mind, especially for those who may need to buy using a mortgage. 10 percent differences in the purchase price can make a huge difference in the overall returns on investment.