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

Tony Buckwell
January 26, 2022

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

The answer? It depends.

New Zealand has four distinct ‘selling seasons’ commonly recognised by the real estate industry, and each has its pros and cons for you as a seller.

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

Summer Season in New Zealand

December to mid-January is typically one of the quietest times on the real estate calendar. 

Generally, not many homeowners 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 regular use of their homes 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 – April):

The end of the Summer/Autumn period (Mid-January to April/May in the real estate world) is when the real estate sector wakes from its Christmas slumber.

Listing numbers rise quickly, and general market activity accelerates.

The first New Year campaigns kick off around mid to late January, and many 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 wet autumn weather arrives.

A potential downside to listing your property at this time: there are a lot of other properties available at the same time. 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, more property is available for you to consider for purchase.

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

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

Winter in New Zealand

Generally speaking, the Winter period is a steady but quieter season in real estate sales volumes in New Zealand. This is because homeowners 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. Unfortunately, I believe that many homeowners miss an opportunity here.

There are always buyers looking to purchase a home, regardless of the time of year. However, during the winter, the sellers prepared to market their home face far less competition from other listings. Consequently, they often achieve premium prices.

Winter 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):

Cherry Blossom New Zealand

Spring 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. However, there is more competition for the attention of buyers due to the greater choice available. For this reason, property presentation is critically important. 

An interesting observation is that Spring sellers seem willing to sell their home because they are more confident of their chances of securing a new property (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 who have the flexibility to decide when you will bring your home to the market, consider the pros and cons I have outlined above. Then, decide what is best for your particular circumstances.

A quick chat with someone like me will provide you with the latest information on the current market conditions.

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

Additionally, The last two years have seen intense competition in the real estate market - regardless of the season.

I hope this information helps you on your selling journey.

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