When is the Best Time of Year to Sell Your Home?

Tony Buckwell
September 5, 2019

One of the most common questions I am asked is “When is the best time of year to sell?”

Here is my summary of the four ‘selling seasons’, commonly recognised by the real estate industry, and their pros and cons for you as a seller:

Season 1 – ‘The Holiday Period’  (Early/Mid December – Mid January):

Selling in Summer

This is one of the quietest times on the real estate calendar. Generally, not many home owners wish to be on the market over the holiday season. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • General buyer activity drops off as families head away on holiday
  • Sellers want to have normal use of their home during their vacation time
  • Solicitors and other specialists are unavailable to provide necessary services during this time

It’s not that real estate transactions cannot or do not occur during this period, they are just far fewer than at any other time of year.

Summary: Very low sales volumes. Steady prices (although possibly lower due to lack of buyer competition).

Season 2 – ‘The New Year/Summer Period’ (Mid January – Autumn):

This is when the real estate sector wakes from its Christmas slumber. Listing numbers grow quickly, and general market activity accelerates. The first New Year campaigns kick off around mid to late January, and a good number of new properties consistently arrive on the market right through the summer months. Most owners tend to time their campaigns to result in a sale before the shorter days and wetter autumn weather arrives.

If there is a down side to listing your property at this time, it is that there is a lot of other property also available at the same time as yours. This provides more choice for buyers, and potentially less incentive for them to commit to your home. The positive is that when the sale is completed, there is more property available for you to consider for purchase.

Summary: Peak sales volumes. Good prices (currently).

Season 3 –  ‘The Autumn to Winter Period’ (May – late August):

Selling in Winter

Generally speaking, this is a steady but quieter season in terms of real estate sales volumes. Home owners tend to hibernate for the winter, whilst planning their Spring actions. I regularly hear owners saying they want to hold off marketing their home until the lawns and gardens are looking better and the weather has improved for viewings. I actually believe that many home owners miss an opportunity here. There are always buyers looking to purchase a home, regardless of the time of year. The sellers that are prepared to market their home during the winter face far less competition from other listings, and as a consequence, often achieve premium prices. This can be a great time to sell, so if you are ready – don’t hold off!

Summary: Subdued sales volumes. Strong prices.

Season 4 – ‘The Spring Season’ (September – Mid December):

This is the second boom listing season on the real estate calendar. Many owners who have been preparing their homes over the winter choose to launch their marketing campaigns. There is a noticeable surge of new listings and general market activity accelerates again after the quieter winter phase. Most campaigns aim for a sale result before the Christmas holiday season arrives. Once again, there is more competition for the attention of buyers due to the greater choice available. For this reason, property presentation is critically important. The interesting observation around this time is that sellers seem willing to sell their home because they are more confident of their chances of securing a purchase (due to the increased supply of property listings).

Summary: Peak sales volumes. Good prices (currently).

In summary:

So, is there a right and wrong time to sell? Sometimes this question is irrelevant due to a compelling need to sell now. For those of you who do have the flexibility to plan when you will bring your home to the market, consider the pros and cons I have outlined above and decide what is best for your particular circumstances. A quick chat to someone like me will provide you with the latest information on the current market conditions.

My final comment is that the summaries above are quite generic. The result you will achieve with your sale will be affected by many more factors other than just timing.

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