Within the property market, there is much written about when the best time to buy and sell is. Just like trading other investments you can try to play the market to your advantage and this certainly applies with investment buyers, but when it comes to selling a home, it is often more about the right time for you rather than trying to judge the wider market.
There are, however, peaks and troughs during the year and being aware of the cycle will help you make the most of the opportunity, but don’t forget this doesn’t take into account your own reasons for wanting to sell.
The New Year
People see the New Year as the best time for a fresh start following on from the Christmas season, making this a popular time to start the search for a new home. Activity in the buyers’ market picks up in the New Year and grows into the peak of spring. Those people looking early in the new year are generally at the start of their property search and may take several months before they have seen enough property to start making decisions.
Is the most popular time to buy and sell. It means that you can be in your new home by the summer and the enthusiasm from the New Year is still in the air. The Easter Bank holidays act as an inflexion point, giving people more time to view, to consider their options and to make decisions.
Properties will start to view better as daylight gets longer and gardens start to come back to life. Finding a property in spring means that you will most likely be able to get into your new home by the summer.
There is often a slowdown of activity in the market during the summer as people focus on summer holidays, the school holidays and enjoying the longer evenings. In the knowledge it may take several months to complete a sale, families will look earlier in the year to ensure they are settled in their new home before starting new schools.
Sees an increase in activity through to early November. People are back from their holidays, there is still the opportunity to get into a new home in time for Christmas and children are back at school giving more time to work through options. Those leaving education tend to start jobs in early autumn and this cycle carries through to people in more established jobs.
Unsurprisingly this is a poorer time to try to sell. Buyers are pre-occupied with Christmas preparations; the nights have closed in and the properties tend to view less well in the winter light. The motivation of buyers is decreasing, except for those looking to try and find bargains by completing a purchase in time for Christmas.
Aside from the market conditions, there is also the timing around what you are trying to achieve. Generally, if you are selling you are likely to be buying at the same time. Keeping a keen eye on the market in advance will help you align both your sale and your purchase. Practically speaking, as soon as you start marketing your property, you should be out looking for your next purchase.
Speak to agents before you put your property on the market to understand how long it will generally take to sell a property in the local area and which properties tend to sell faster. If your move is time sensitive always allow more time to give yourself some flexibility to find your next purchase. If you are moving, for example, because your mortgage product is due to end in the near future, you will need to make sure you give enough time to secure your new property by the time your mortgage product ends. It is much easier to extend the date the sale goes through than to catch up on lost time where your mortgage costs have gone up.