Asking prices for houses coming onto the market in November fell by 2.4% from the previous month, with the average asking price down by just over £6,000 to £246,237. This wiped out most of the increase seen in October, with Help to Buy not making the expected impact on market activity just yet.
That said, asking prices are up by 4% on the year, and this is the time of the year when traditionally, the market takes a pre-Christmas breather. It’s at this point that the property market starts to wind down somewhat, not exactly great news for people looking to sell. I’m one of them, and the helplessness felt when the viewings dry up is pretty soul destroying.
It’s this mindset, from people like me, that means that if you are looking to buy, now might actually be a really smart time to do it. Those of us who are putting our properties on the market now generally have a pressing need to sell soon, otherwise we’d hold fire until the new year instead of trying to fit viewings in around a very busy festive period. And who knows, if you offer something below the asking price you might be more successful than if you offered the same amount in January, when more properties come back onto the market.
So, if you can put up with doing your move in the dark winter months, and amid the looming distraction of Christmas, you could save some money as well as doing a favour for the vendor in what’s typically the worst time of the year to sell.
Though it feels like the odds are stacked against people trying to sell in winter, there are ways to improve your chances. First impressions – as always – really matter, and when it’s cold and miserable outside, what better first impression than a warm, cosy, inviting feel? Actually, first impressions are formed before they get to the door, so clear the entrance of leaves (I really must get around to doing that).
If you’re selling, and you can’t find a winter buyer for your home, when can you expect things to pick up again? Well, spring remains a key time, as buyers look to a ‘fresh new start’ just as the weather starts to pick up, and with summer holidays done and dusted, autumn is another time of increased activity. It’s at these times when demand tends to outstrip supply, and there’s a much better chance of vendors making a sale.
With just five weeks until Christmas, I’m resigned to the fact that we won’t sell before the end of the year, though I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a Christmas miracle. If it’s not this year, I’ll just have to hope that a lot of people make it their new year’s resolution to buy a house. My house, preferably.