Comment: Is now really the best time to buy?

PUBLISHED: 10:55 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:55 18 November 2016

We're told now's always a great time to buy, whatever the weather

We're told now's always a great time to buy, whatever the weather

© Roland Nagy

So when’s a good time to sell your house? According to the experts, who have access to complex pie charts and the like, it’s basically all the time. Like, whenever.

Forget about avoiding the traditionally quiet spell during the summer holidays, when swathes of potential buyers are sunning themselves without a thought for Rightmove – agents insist the garden looks lovely at this time of year, and potential buyers won’t be able to get enough of the goods on offer.

Then there’s mid-November. Bleak, freezing, not even very festive yet. The chances of achieving the fabled ‘in by Christmas’ are now a pipe dream for all but the most straightforward of sales, but apparently there’s a whole host of reasons why winter is an amazing time to move.

According to Kevin Shaw, national sales director at property specialist Leaders, “winter may typically be cold and dark, but the property market at this time of the year is remarkably bright”.

Hmm, I’m not convinced. Kevin is keen to persuade me – and you – however.

He says: “A good number of property sales are arranged and completed during the period between November and February and the market is certainly becoming less seasonal with every passing year. With relatively few distractions for buyers and less competition, winter is now an excellent time to put your home on the market.”

Even Kevin doesn’t sound completely convinced. He makes a good point about buyers in winter being more determined, however – traipsing round other peoples’ houses is a lot less fun in the cold, meaning only the most focused of house hunters are likely to bother. Kevin also cites a spike in post-Christmas online searches as evidence that those whose homes are on the market in November will reap the rewards come Boxing Day (assuming any estate agents’ are actually open…).

Kevin’s final point is that less competition from rival sellers makes it easier to secure a sale during the colder months. Probably more of a bonus to buyers than sellers, that.

It’s understandable that agents would like to encourage a more even flow of business throughout the year, and obviously the season is irrelevant to someone truly intent on buying, who’ll want to do so whatever the weather.

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