Clients frequently ask when is the best time of the year to sell their home to get the best price? Like many things in life, the answer is “it depends”! Not very helpful – right? The reality is that most people don’t have the luxury of being able to pick an exact month they can sell. Other factors such as a need for more space, a change of job or change in personal circumstances tend to dictate when we sell our homes as opposed to a particular season.
Our key piece of advice is that you should not feel pressurised or rushed into selling just because it’s a certain time of year. That said, if you do have the luxury of determining when to sell, then the data suggests there are some peak periods for property transactions. Putting all of the data together, here is the general guidance;
The start of the year
There is some considerable logic to putting your house on the market in the new year, as many buyers have a “renewed energy” to engage in a property search after the holiday period. But the general advice is don’t do it too early, as January is generally seen as “hang over” month. The data shows that from February onward, interest starts to pick up. Indeed, Rightmove has crunched some of the data and for 2018, revealed that February 19th was the busiest day of the year for property searches with over 40 million-page views on that day alone.
- General market conditions start to pick up in the new year.
- Buyers might be “energised” after the holiday period.
- Sellers can use he holiday period to prepare their homes for sale.
- While people have renewed energy in the new year, they are generally just starting their search, so they might not be prepared to commit to an offer for some time.
- The days are short, reducing the time that people have to undertake viewings.
- People are normally a little “tight on their budgets” after the holiday expenditure and may not be in the right frame of mind to make a significant financial commitment.
- The weather is generally dark and overcast, which doesn’t allow for the best viewing conditions.
Data from land registry suggests that Spring is the most popular time for listings and offers. There are some good reasons for this including;
- Buyers who have been looking since the new year are generally ready to start making offers.
- The days are getting longer, giving people more time to view.
- The weather is picking up – ensuring houses and gardens present more favourably compared to the winter.
- Buyers will want to expedite the purchase process so that can move in time for summer.
- Transactions complete in the summer, giving the best conditions to actually physically move homes.
- Being the busiest time of year, there is more competition on the market.
Summer is traditionally seen as a slower period, as many families go on holiday, the kids are out of school and the weather gives people a reason to undertake other activities (other than home viewing). Certainly, the national statistics from Land Registry support this theory. However local factors should definitely be taken into account. For example, in coastal areas such as Worthing, properties present at their best on a bright sunny day. The town is also busy with tourists and retirees who might be considering a move to the town or a vacation home in the area.
- Properties generally present at their best in the summer, as gardens are in bloom and the light is brighter.
- The days are longer to accommodate later/after work viewings.
- Coastal properties will show particularly well this time of year.
- There is a higher probability of attracting an “out of town” buyer.
- Buyers are generally focused on family activities, summer holidays etc.
- As it’s the peak holiday season, conveyancing, surveying, mortgage approvals etc could all take a little longer. This is compounded if you are in a chain, as the chain can only move as “fast as the slowest link”.
Autumn is generally seen as a favourable time to sell. The market generally benefits from a pickup in activity after the kids go back to school and family summer holidays are out of the way. However, you should keep in mind that “the market tends to cool along with the weather” particularly into later October and November. If you are going to list your property this time of year then the best option is to be ready for late summer/early autumn.
- The market is generally more buoyant and purchasers are more active.
- People are motivated to get the transaction completed to be in their new home ahead of the holiday season.
- No major school holidays to contend with.
- Nights start drawing in and the weather starts to deteriorate resulting in less favourable viewing conditions.
- Gardens can start to look untidy as the leaves begin to fall – make sure you have a good tidy up before viewings.
- Increased level of competition as a popular time to sell.
The data suggest that winter is not a good time to sell. The days are much shorter, the weather is unfavourable and buyers are starting to get distracted by plans for the festive season.
- Limited amount of competitive stock on the market.
- Buyers are generally distracted by the run up to the holiday period.
- Days are shorter creating a smaller window for viewings.
- Weather is generally dull and overcast creating less than ideal viewing conditions.
- Not as easy to ventilate homes due to cold weather.
- Buyers know that it’s potentially a good time to buy, so might be tempted to make a “cheeky” offer.
While the above represents some general “trends”, we would stress again that the best time to sell your home is when “YOU” are ready. By talking to a local agent such as Aspire, we can advise on a marketing strategy that is specific to your personal circumstances and market conditions. This will help you make a much more informed decision rather than just deciding to sell based on what month of the year it is.