13 June 2022

When is the best time to sell your house in the UK?

When is the best time to sell your house in the UK?

When it comes to selling your house, everyone is looking for that one perfect moment to hit the market. And as it happens, property data does show us some seasonal trends when it comes to the best time to sell your house.

In this article we’ll help you get your property moving by exploring…

  • How the seasons affect buying trends
  • How local factors might hinder your sale
  • The role of supply and demand
  • Pros and cons of selling at peak times
  • Pros and cons of selling at off-peak

Plus plenty of other insider tips and tricks from our experts. Looking for tailored help in selling your house? Get in touch with our team. 

When do homes sell quickly? 

In theory, there are indeed ‘good’ months and ‘bad’ months to sell. 

With the days getting longer, gardens starting to bloom, rooms bathed in light and a feeling of new life in the air, it’s generally agreed that spring is the best time to sell your property. It may sound a touch romantic, but this really does affect the way people view and perceive your house.

How the seasons affect buying trends

Spring

March, April and May are the months to aim for, with March being the sweet spot according to Rightmove: ‘for the past five years (excluding 2020), March is when we have seen the most buyers enquiring about properties for sale. This in turn creates competition between buyers, giving sellers the best chance of sealing the deal.’

Summer

While early summer might see your property doing well on the market, things tend to slow down as the summer holidays begin in July and get into full swing during August. 

Autumn

The autumnal months of September and October are another optimal time to sell, especially if your garden or landscape are shimmering with those autumnal colours.

However, it’s worth baring in mind paperwork can slow down as winter hits. If you do manage to make a sale, try to complete before the Christmas period hits in December.

Winter

On the whole, it’s highly unrecommended you put your property on the market during December. With festive fun in the air, many people put off making big decisions until the new year, and even then, the market doesn’t really pick up until February.

Having said that, those selling a flat or home suited to young professionals, may have some luck on the market during January. This is when many people are looking to make a career change and with this comes the need to move around.

A house in a winter snow storm.
Getting paperwork in order and finding a buyer can be a challenge in winter, especially during the festive period.

The role of supply and demand

It’s not just the seasons that dictate when’s the best time to get on, or off, the property ladder. Supply and demand also play an important role in buying and selling.

If there are lots of buyers on the hunt and fewer houses on the market, a property may get more interest and potentially sell faster. However, if there’s a sudden boom in new listings then supply could outweigh demand.

This sort of movement in the market is tricky to predict and can fluctuate due to all sorts of external factors, as was the case in 2020/21 when the government introduced a temporary stamp duty holiday designed to kick-start a faltering economy during COVID-19. The initiative caused a huge surge in housing transactions, rising a whopping 15.6% in August 2020.

I’ve been told house prices have reached their peak!

When some news story comes out shouting about record house prices, it can be tempting to rush to get yours out there too. However, don’t let the buzz have you ignore the rest of the factors covered here. No matter what the papers say, December and August will always be difficult months for a sale. If you put your property out at a bad time, it could be sat on the market for some months and this will raise eyebrows with buyers. 

Ultimately, if you need help understanding the markets, consult your estate agent and do your own research!

Other factors that affect house sales

In truth, there are plenty of factors which can help or hinder your sale. Here are some of the most recent trends from the last few years…

Behavioural shifts 

The pandemic also resulted in a clear behavioural shift. According to CBRE, ‘increased time spent at home led to a demand for more space inside and outside of properties. In turn this led to an increased volume of households upsizing to larger properties’.

Whilst the pandemic was most likely a one-off event, and research recently carried out by Which? suggests that ‘the number of sales each month is now much closer to pre-pandemic levels’, the housing market has and always will be at the mercy of factors beyond our control.

Regional factors

As if you didn’t have enough things to worry about, you may find your local authority throwing some spanners into the works that scare off potential buyers. 

Before you list your property, make sure you do your research and find out if the following are due to come up…

  • Roadworks outside your house
  • Whether any major projects are seeking planning permission nearby
  • Construction next door
  • Transport strikes

Essentially, you want to ensure viewers are seeing your home and the surrounding area at its best. This means avoiding periods of disruption which may leave a bad taste in a buyer’s mouth.

Should I sell during off-peak or peak times?

Given our advice so far, you may feel timings are cut and dry for the housing market. And while we tend to advise you stick to those peak seasons in the year, avoiding the rush can have its own rewards to weigh up.

If you’re looking for some flexibility on timings, consider these pros and cons. 

Pros of selling during peak times

  • Your property will get more exposure during those crucial first 4-6 weeks on the market – this is when, statistically, most competitive bids tend to happen.
  • The more people who see your property, the more likely it is that people will compete and go above the asking price.
  • Estate agents will give your property the most amount of love in those early stages, so you’ll likely want their extra love and attention while there are lots of buyers on the market.

Cons of selling during peak times

  • There might be more buyers in the market but, conversely, this means there will also be more houses competing against yours. If you can’t stand out, you may get lost in the crowd.
  • During busy times, it’s not uncommon for professionals to raise their fees to cope with the demand. This means you may end up paying more in agents or solicitors fees. 
  • If a family is looking at property in the dead of winter or high summer, chances are they’re looking to find somewhere quick. These highly motivated buyers might be just what your home needs, as they tend to waste less time and could be more open to paying more for your property. 

Want to sell your home fast? iBuying might be an alternative solution

If you’re someone who wants to sell their home as quickly as possible, regardless of what time of year it is, then it might be worth exploring iBuying.

Simply put, iBuying (that’s instant property buying) is the newest, smartest and fastest way to buy and sell houses – fast. They can provide an instant cash offer come rain or shine. So, the ‘best’ time to sell is whenever it’s right for you.

Who is iBuying suited to?

With iBuying, in exchange for convenience and speed, the service will discount what your home’s current market value is. At UPSTIX, this discount is typically 11%. This means iBuying isn’t for everyone, but some people can really benefit from the service, including…

  • Anyone looking to move out of the country soon
  • Couples undergoing a separation
  • Siblings who have inherited a property
  • Homeowners who want to make an offer on their dream home and not be tied into a chain on their end

If this sounds like it might be right for your home, you can enjoy a free, no-obligation valuation and get an understanding of what offer UPSTIX can make to you. 

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Value and associated costs used for illustrative purposes