When is the best time of year to sell your home?

Wealthy landowners are hastily transferring their estates to their children ahead of the general election, driven by fears that a Labour government might tighten inheritance tax reliefs.

You may have been pondering whether or not to put your house on the market for some time now.

Cautious about predictions of a decrease in house prices in 2024, yet buoyed by assertions that mortgage rates are likely to drop below 5% again by the end of the year.

With Spring traditionally said to be the best time to market your property by many industry insiders, but others recommending that you hold fire until the very end of the year, we consider when the best time to sell your home reallyis.

Spring: A traditionally favourable season for house sales

Spring is traditionally cited as the best time of year to move house thanks to several factors. Firstly, there are fewer distractions from summer holidays and Christmas preparations, allowing potential buyers to focus more keenly on their property search. Secondly, the more clement weather and longer daylight hours during Spring allows homeowners to showcase their outdoor spaces to their full potential with flowers in bloom and lush green lawns, which often leads to increased interest from prospective buyers.

Statistics from recent years support the notion of Spring being a prime time for selling homes too, with quicker sales and, in many cases, higher sales prices. According to Rightmove, since 2012, homes listed in February and March have taken an average of only 51 and 52 days respectively to find a buyer, with February and April coming out on top as the most successful months for listings which actually go on to find a buyer (over 66%).

Summer and Winter Sales: Challenges and opportunities

Spring may be considered the optimal time for selling, but both Summer and Winter do come with their own opportunities for prospective vendors too.

Admittedly, Summer sales can be hindered by the distraction of the school holidays, weddings, and other seasonal activities – particularly if your house is being marketed at families – potentially reducing the pool of interested buyers. As such, data suggests the average selling time in July and August is 65 days. In Winter, vendors may face obstacles such as adverse weather conditions and the Christmas holiday season, which can dampen buyer enthusiasm.

However, there are still advantages to be found in these seasons.

Many sellers favour Autumn for selling their homes, with mid-September to October tending to see quicker transaction times as buyers plan to be in a new home in time for Christmas. Therefore, listing your home slightly earlier, in August, can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to catching the eye of those with a Christmas deadline for a new home. Property photos taken on a warm, sunny day can’t hurt either when it comes to showing your home at its best.

When it comes to the traditionally slower winter months, Rightmove’s housing market data has also shown that putting your home on the market on Boxing Day can help beat the January rush, as many prospective buyers start their property search early for the new year. Indeed, record numbers of sellers put their house on the market on 26 December 2023 to take advantage of this timing and give their properties a competitive edge in a market that sees increased activity post-holidays.

Regional Variations: Understanding Your Market

When it comes to selling your home, understanding regional variations is also important. Conducting research online to assess the competition in your area, focusing particularly on similar sized properties and their asking prices, can provide valuable insights into the local market dynamics. Additionally, consulting with local estate agents can help you decide the best time to sell locally and set a realistic selling price based on current market trends and conditions.

Ultimately, deciding the best time of year to sell your home can be a complex decision influenced by various factors. While Spring may be traditionally popular for its favourable weather conditions, there are plenty of opportunities to be found in other seasons as well. Understanding regional variations and considering your personal circumstances are essential steps in determining the best time to list your property. And of course, “best” means different things to different sellers. Are you looking to get the fastest sale for your property or the best price, since these factors can sometimes be mutually exclusive.

Indeed, the best time to sell your home is the time that suits you best. Factors such as your own timelines for selling and current market conditions should be taken into account when making this decision. If you find yourself in too much of a rush to sell, it may limit your ability to make the necessary updates or repairs to showcase your property at its best. Conversely, if you’re part of a property chain, you may need to be very flexible with your timing or speed things up to ensure a smooth transition between homes.