Coming out of August and with the winter months coming along house sales slow down and around now we often get asked “when is the best time to sell your house?” We’ve decided to update this blog post (originally published back in 2015!) with the latest information to enable the best tips.
A lot of people ask when to sell a house.
In short; when there are as many people looking to buy as possible. This is because the competition between buyers will raise the achievable sale price.
The general idea is to avoid a quiet market. This is because you want your property to retain its “fresh to the market” appeal. After a month or so the property becomes less appealing and buyers become suspicious. They tend to assume there is something wrong with it and then avoid it.
Estate agents can also get bored of a property if it stays around for too long. It may then become what’s known as a “Turkey” and be neglected, causing further disappointment.
The Best Time To Sell Your House – Seasonal
Selling a House in Spring:
Spring is the best time to sell homes fast. This is generally because good weather and in-bloom gardens make properties look their best. There is usually a lot of sunshine which makes buyers more prepared to house hunt, and families tend to try and coincide new purchases with the end of the school year.
There are also a lot of buyers after the Christmas lull and the Easter holidays provide a lot of time off. The Easter bank holiday is always the best time to sell out of spring.
Selling a House in Summer:
The height of Summer is not a great time to sell a house and you usually get mixed results. Summer school holidays take up a lot of parents’ time and a lot of people go away on holiday.
August has a particularly desolate property market. If you want to sell your house in summer, it’s best to do it in early summer. On the bright side (pun intended!) there are more daylight hours which gives you more time to sell!
Selling a House in Autumn:
Autumn is a good time to sell a house but not quite as good as Spring. As long as you don’t leave it any later than Mid-November you’ll have nothing to worry about. Holidays are over and with the beginning of the school term, parents have a lot more time to house-hunt.
Selling a House in Winter:
Winter isn’t the most ideal time to sell, and we would recommend trying to hold out on selling until after the New Year. There are fewer properties on sale but most buyers tend to be a bit more serious about what they want. The combination of Christmas preparations, family commitments, and cold weather make the winter a pretty bleak selling period.
Most people are busy and are usually spending money on other things. And it is important to remember about all the costs associated with selling and buying a house. If you can wait early January can work better as a lot of potential buyers will be looking for a ‘fresh start’ in the new year.
Things To Consider
In reality, there are buyers all year round, and it only takes one of them to purchase your house, so don’t worry too much if you’re selling in a quiet month. It’s just best to be aware that you will be at a disadvantage, and prepare accordingly.
You will also have to consider any council works that might affect your sale. For example, new blocks of flats that might obstruct a view or new roads bringing in extra traffic.
If you know about these things, your buyer’s solicitor will have no problem finding them out too. It’s best to wait until any planned works are completed, as buyers will be more likely to close on a deal. They tend to hold out until they know the effect that these types of factors have on property value.
You could also remind your estate agents to keep property photos up to date to maintain the “fresh to market” appeal. You don’t want pictures with a Christmas Tree up in February!
Think carefully about how and where your property will be marketed – the more aggressive the better, but also be realistic about your asking price. Remember – the key is to encourage as much competition as possible.
Using the latest governmental statistics of properties sold, we’ve taken the average total number of properties sold (£40k or above) in the UK (seasonally adjusted) since 2005 and the results are as follows –
Most properties sold will take between 5-6 months to complete and once contracts and properties are exchanged they are listed on the government’s land registry and subject to their data. As house hunting is a long process: from viewing the house with an estate agent to completing transactions and getting the keys. If you are in a long chain and need to worry about selling property that time might be even longer. You can see on the graph that there’s a spike in properties sold in September, but that is the number that represents the exchanged contracts not when the sale was agreed upon, which makes sense because in September everybody is back from the summer holidays.
Following September is March which again roughly ties in with an autumn view date of the property. This statistical data from the complete number of properties also follow the advice we’ve given so far but don’t feel you have to sell in two seasons or disheartened, even in the lowest seasons nearly 100,000 properties sold in those months. It should also be noted this data doesn’t tell you the house prices, any regional differences or if they were sold for the best price. There are a lot of factors to think about when you want to sell.
What is the best month to sell a house in?
The best months to sell a house are in (transitional seasons) Spring and Autumn, which are:
March, April, May(spring) September, October, and November (autumn) Beyond the seasons it will depend on the local area and the property market at the time so it can be hard to specify one money and will be more down to personal circumstances more than anything.
What month do houses sell for the least?
Houses sell for the least in Winter. This is because there are fewer buyers around, and those that are looking are usually more serious about purchasing a property.
Do different property types sell better at different times of the year?
There is no easy answer unfortunately, each property type has different selling points. For example, a family home (e.g. terraced houses) with a garden might be better suited to the Spring market, whereas a city apartment might not be affected as much by the seasons. Ultimately, it depends on the buyer demographic (e.g. retired) for each property type. Family homes might be slower in summer due to school holidays whereas smaller flats and apartments might fair better in the new year as young couples looking to start a new year.
Generally: If you’re thinking of selling your house, the best time to do it is in Spring or Autumn. These are the months when more buyers are the most active, and properties tend to sell for more.