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When is the best time to sell your property?

What is actually the best season to sell a property? When can a seller expect to get the highest price or sell in the shortest period of time? These are questions people almost always find asking themselves when they start considering selling their property.

Usually the consensus is that Spring is the best season to sell, however, data shows that this is not necessarily the case.

In this article we analyze each season from a property sales perspective and focus on explaining the specifics of adapting a property sales campaign so that it matches the season.

Monthly sales with six month moving average(combined capitals)

 

Spring (Listing in September – November)

Often people believe that spring is the best time to sell their property because most buyers come out of a usually passive Winter season to start searching for property and going through open homes as the weather improves. 

However, despite an increase in buyer activity, Spring is not necessarily the best season to sell your property. In fact, an analysis of total sales and listing volume data in Spring clearly shows a significant increase in new properties listed for sale which in turn increases the total number of listings on the market. On the other hand, sales volumes do not increase dramatically over Autumn or even Winter months (there is a difference in sales volumes compared to Summer but we will analyze that more in the next paragraph). So overall, more than 30% of total properties listed every year are being put on the market in Spring. 

Research conducted by Abbas Valadkhan, Andrew C. Worthington and Russell Smyth in 2015 on the effects of seasonality in the capital cities of Australia revealed that none of the Spring months recorded higher property prices in any of the cities that were analyzed. The opposite was actually true with the months of Spring recording the lowest prices in some of the researched cities. The graphs below show how particular months have performed (worst and best) compared to yearly averages for each Australian capital city.

First period is before 2011, and second period is after 2011, as researchers identified a structural change in seasonality for most cities after 2011.

For a homeowner thinking of selling, this means that if their property doesn’t stand out it very well might get lost amongst competing homes for sale. Furthermore, the costs of advertising will likely be two or three times higher as well. 

However, there is a case to be made for unique property to be listed for sale in Spring because an increase in buyer activity can positively affect your chances of getting more. Therefore this is a crucial part of maximizing price and absolutely must be investigated further for your individual home and situation (for example, properties with great gardens are more attractive and stand out better during the Spring season). 

At the same time, if your property struggles with natural sunlight you should avoid selling in winter. 

Summer (Listing in December – February)

December and January are often considered the worst months to list your property for sale. And it does make sense on the surface with buyers being out of town during the holiday season which decreases open home attendance and in turn property sales volumes. 

However, what is important that the same happens with vendors – they usually elect not to list during the first months of Summer. Therefore, if you’re an owner of a property that does not have unique features lower levels of competition in the market should be very helpful. Especially because buyers who do decide to go property hunting during the first months of Summer are naturally much more motivated as they’ve skipped their holiday time to buy a property. 

When looking at data, the number of total listings and new properties listed for sale decrease by a lot with as much as 400% fewer new listings in December or January compared to Autumn and Spring months. With less stock on the market, the total sales volumes also drop by about 20-30% compared to the most active months (Spring and Autumn season). 

However, the most important figure – selling prices – according to the research conducted by Valadkhan, Worthington, and Smyth, were actually best during the months of Winter in more Australian capital cities than not.

Summer is great for owners of beachside properties and vacation homes. Sales volumes of such homes increase heavily which absolutely demands strong consideration when selling. On the flip side, people who own homes that struggle with air conditioning on hot days should generally avoid selling in summer.

It is also very important to put yourself in a position where you are in no rush to sell as average days on market tend to increase slightly in summer months.

Autumn (Listing in March – May)

From a data analytics perspective regarding sales volumes, Autumn is very similar to Spring: buyer activity increases, much more properties are listed for sale. There is a way to take advantage of that – in some occasions, situations occur when vendors have not yet listed their properties but buyer activity has already gone up in a suburb (or slightly larger area). Such situations would theoretically be the perfect time to sell, however, it is based on sheer luck as there is no real way to foresee this happening in your area. From a sales perspective, Autumn is very similar to Spring, therefore, owners of homes with great gardens or homes that struggle with sunlight should usually utilize a good chance to get a premium before Winter comes. 

The number of new and total listings increases dramatically in the months of Autumn but this uptick in supply is followed by increased buyer activity which allows for growth in sales volumes. The research on seasonality identified that Autumn months have consistently recorded higher prices in Canberra, Adelaide, and Darwin.

 

Winter (Listing in June-August)

Sales activity slows down in Winter, but, just like in Summer, there are also much fewer properties being put on the market which in turn leads to a significantly lower number of total properties listed for sale. Therefore dwellings that have basic features and are similar to the average property in your broader area could see a positive effect in terms of higher selling prices because of less competition.

However, property sales results in Winter are dependant on another unpredictable variable – the weather. If the Winter season is mild your open home visits might not be affected at all compared to other months and which in turn, due to lower supply, could actually be a great time to sell. 

Looking at the data from Corelogic new listing volumes decrease slightly with the total number of listings decreasing as well. But the interesting thing is that in Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne – July was actually identified as the month that recorded the highest property prices of the year. This is because sales numbers (buyer activity) drop only marginally compared to Autumn or Spring while the number of properties for sale decreases significantly, which usually is an indication of a good time to sell

Therefore, homeowners in Sydney and Melbourne looking to get the maximum price for their property based on factual evidence should strongly consider selling in July. Furthermore, according to the data analyzed, Sydneysiders should also consider the months of February, April and August because they’ve shown to have sales prices that are slightly higher than average.

At the end of the day, each season has its own specifics and while in some cases it does make sense to wait a month or two to take advantage of seasonality, the most important thing in maximizing the selling price of your property is making sure the sales campaign is managed correctly and, as the homeowner, you’re not in a rush to sell.

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