In much the same way warm coats are sold just before the cold months hit us, and bikinis are sold as the sun comes out, houses also sell seasonally. The difference is, nobody really notices – because they’re always being sold!
The key is to remember that there are different types of buyer and different types of property – so here is a breakdown of what you can expect to happen in any given calendar year.
Young Couples and Singles
These are the people who kick-start the property chain. In theory, first time buyers will join the lower end of the property ladder, purchasing the terraces and apartments that they can afford, therefore allowing the rest of the chain to kick into action.
As such, you will find more first-time buyers making their deals near the start of the year. They’re not relying on selling a property (and therefore waiting for another party to get involved) plus their lack of time constraints allows them to find a deal to suit them – therefore making this the longest lasting part of the chain.
Families (Who are Usually Up-Sizers)
Families aren’t as flexible as first-time buyers. They will look around during autumn, spring and early summer… while the kids are at school! This gives the parents time to look around without having to tow bored children around. Furthermore, outside of term time families will want to spend time together, to go on holidays for example, so don’t expect too many viewings in the Easter holidays and in the middle of summer.
Families with younger children will tend to favour moves closer to the middle of the year, allowing the children to play in a new garden and settle into new bedrooms. Be empathetic to the needs of families and their children and you will see a real need for a ‘familial’ deal – if your home is suitable for a family to live in, expect more movement before the halfway point of the year.
Mature Adults (Who are Usually Down-Sizers)
If the household is now an empty-nest, adults will often pay off their mortgage and then look to purchase something smaller moving towards retirement.
They will also be looking towards the summer, but obviously will not be inhibited by children in school, or perhaps even by full-time jobs. However, this may just be a logical decision – nobody wants to search for houses in the rain, cold and dark.
The advantage to mature buyers is that they tend to look at fewer properties and make their minds up much faster than younger families and single people.
The question you should ask yourself, at this time of the year, is whether to market your property over Christmas and into January or, if it is already on the market, to keep it there.
Based on the three types of buyers we just pointed out, logic would tell you not to – after all, the only market you can have faith in to search your property is the first-time buyers, and anyone who follows the property industry knows that they are struggling to afford properties in the first place.
But, and here’s the important factor, traffic and clicks on property portals like Rightmove is always incredibly high at this stage of the year, even though it seems that the market has cooled.
What is in fact happening is that your property becomes part of the embers that roar back into life come January – where not having your property on the market is to miss all the heat generated from new interest.
Of course, depending on your property, its size, its likely target market, and your desire to move, you will have to take your own decision. But don’t underestimate the power of having your property online over the Christmas break – you never know who is going to see, but you can rest assured that it is being seen, a lot, to your advantage.
If you have any questions or would like some support with selling your property, contact your local Parkers office here.