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Selling through winter

Author: With property sales historically at their lowest levels during winter, it’s clear seasonal weather patterns influence the real estate market.

The peak selling periods in real estate are generally late summer and early autumn from February to April and then the spring months of October to November. During these periods the number of homes sold can be up to 20 per cent greater than the winter or holiday months.

What is the effect on sales?
This difference is often evident at home opens, which serve as good indicators of seasonal market activity. In warmer months people are more likely to do inspections, while in winter the cooler conditions and shorter days tend to keep people indoors more.

Despite less sales in winter, the average time taken to sell a property does not vary a great deal from season to season. Fewer sales in winter are generally the result of fewer property listings.

Buyers who are serious about looking for a new home don’t tend to be too concerned about the weather, but interestingly those who decide to buy a home in winter do so after visiting fewer homes.

Adapt with the change of seasons
It’s important to adapt selling strategies accordingly with the change of season. Advertising for instance, becomes a more significant selling tool in the winter months for attracting serious buyers.

If it is cold and wet on the day of a home open, take sensible steps to keep the place warm, dry, well lit and welcoming. Have a stand for umbrellas by the front door and a decent mat to keep the floors tidy.

From a buyer’s perspective, a wet and windy day is a great opportunity to see how the home holds up, potentially exposing any faults with roofs and gutters or inadequate storm water drainage. Such a day might also help a prospective buyer understand the home’s heating requirements.

The winter months in particular present a great opportunity for astute, organised buyers to find an affordable home and negotiate a good deal on price while the market is quieter.

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