This story was originally published in Builder.

Superbowl Sunday may mark the start of spring selling season, but for buyers looking for a second or vacation home, Christmas kicks off the research period for most consumers.

According to Private Communities Registry (PCR)—an online resource for real estate shoppers interested in amenity-rich, master-planned lifestyle communities—buyers do their most serious research for a second home in the winter. The official start of the winter research season is December 26, says the company.

Last year, traffic to PCR’s website jumped 45% between December 2017 and January 2018. Inquiries to PCR increased 42% in the same period, with most of the new traffic coming from states in the chilly Northeast. According to, December 28 is one of the busiest days of the year for real estate searches. Christmas break offers some down time to start searching for a home, especially after consumers have spent months being distracted by the holiday season between Halloween and New Year's.

“The spike in information requests we receive during the winter months indicates that buyers are seriously searching this time of year. Harsh weather keeps many buyers stuck at home during the winter, so it’s the perfect time to research communities online and make plans to visit them," says Ben Keal, PCR’s Director of Sales & Operations. “Marketers who focus on the spring buying season could be too late. Lifestyle buyers have a longer sales cycle, but we see an influx of traffic and leads right after the holidays, which lasts through the cold months.”

Keal adds that while this cold period doesn't have a lot of buyers out touring homes, "the decisions about where to look are made during winter when buyers do their wishing, searching, and planning. We tell our communities to be sure they’re putting their best feet forward starting around the holidays, while we tell potential buyers to use the winter season to do their homework so they’re prepared and ready to buy.”

Once spring selling season does roll around, BUILDER has some great tips for you as you get your communities ready for new buyer activity. In fact, you can start implementing a number of them now. Check out our Six Tips for Spring Selling here.

This story was originally published in Builder.