Is Winter a Good Time to Sell?

By Peter O’Malley
Author of Inside Real Estate

As the cooler weather sets in, many people considering going to the market will be faced with a conundrum – sell in winter or wait until spring? The winter vs spring debate rolls around every year with predictions of low or no activity over winter and a plethora of new listings ready for the spring market.

Buyers are not seasonal. They buy when the right opportunity presents itself.

The number of listings on market tends to fluctuate with the seasons though. Aside from the practical considerations such as work commitments, school terms and actually being ready to go on the market, the impact of the season on the campaign’s success is often misinterpreted.

There is a widely held view that more people sell in spring because the house & garden present better and therefore sellers achieve a higher sales price as a result. There is no doubt on two points of the accepted wisdom about the spring selling season.

Firstly, there will be a lot of new listings to hit the market in spring that have been held back over the winter. Secondly most properties do present better in spring than winter. These two points can cause people to jump to a third, incorrect assumption. The mistaken assumption that spring is a better time to sell than winter, from a selling price perspective.

After a few tough years, many vendors won’t want to miss a good selling opportunity. Even during the best years of the boom, the market and clearance rates always consolidated during spring, as stock levels rose. Low stock levels can create artificial strength in the property market as buyer demand outstrips seller supply.

Winter is often under-rated as a selling season. The fact that many competing home sellers hold their properties for the spring creates a shortage of stock on market between June and late August. With days on market coming down, buyer sentiment up, interest rates already reduced once and likely to be reduced again, Winter 2019 is shaping up as the best-selling environment.

Admittedly, the property’s presentation may not be as good in winter, but does that really matter if the price is right? 

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