Is Winter A Bad Time To Sell?

By Craig Lowe


This question stems from the natural assumption that in the summer months your home will be presented to the market better due to fine weather and of course the seasonal influence on the garden. 

On the surface this logic seems to make sense and I’m sure that there is definitely a case for this argument. Good presentation of your home, both inside and out, is certainly crucial to achieving a premium price.

However, this doesn’t take market forces into account. Traditionally the amount of houses for sale is much greater in the spring/summer months, and peaks around November, resulting in higher turnover and sales volume. Undoubtedly a negative attitude towards selling in winter has an influence on this, although it would be wrong to assume this was the main reason. People also tend to put off selling their homes (and all the hassles of moving) throughout the year, and it’s only when Christmas is looming and the year is reaching its conclusion that people really get motivated.

One of the consequences of this is that during the spring and summer months (September through March, but excluding Dec 15 – Jan 15) buyers have a lot more stock to choose from. This means that there is more competition amongst sellers rather than competition amongst buyers.

One could argue that during these months there are more people looking to buy, and this is true to some degree, especially during the frenzy of last year. But I have noticed that every winter, when only a handful of listings are trickling into the paper, the properties I have had on the market have experienced a huge amount of buyer activity resulting in quick, painless sales at great prices.

In my opinion timing any market is speculative at best, but all the commentary and statistics would point to the property market being at the apex of its peak. Indeed the BNZ is predicting a fall of around 5% from here (but not a “crash” as such, see next page). Those people waiting till summer this year may not only have to deal with the increased competition from other sellers, but also a thinner and more sedated pool of buyers.

Of course, at the end of the day your circumstances will dictate the timing of a sale more than anything else. But if everything else has lined up and you are waiting for summer, I would suggest making a move now.


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