Comment: Christmas means the market is quiet - but hopefully not for long

Homes available for sale are few and far between at the moment. Picture: Jane Howdle

Homes available for sale are few and far between at the moment. Picture: Jane Howdle - Credit: Archant

Christmas is coming, and all that time spent planning presents and digging out decorations is time not spent trawling Rightmove.

Which, as anyone who knows the true extent of my property portal addiction will confirm, can only be a good thing.

Not that there's much to look at at the moment anyway - just four new homes have been added in my local area in the last 24-hours. Even I'm losing interest.

The stats suggest I'm not alone, and that our fondness for the site is likely to taper off still further between now and Xmas, followed by a surge in traffic between Christmas Day and January 2 (there was a 231 per cent increase during this period last year).

Which isn't to say that things have been completely flat lately - a decent-looking place came on near us a couple of weeks ago, so we booked a viewing.

The day before, the agent got in touch to warn us that there was likely to be congestion on the day due to the excessive amount of interest. We should be prepared for our slot overlapping with others'. And no, they wouldn't be discussing offers on the day - that would have to wait until Monday. They said this felt like the fairest approach.

Which was all a bit off-putting. Who wants to be involoved in a miserable bidding war? We've had that non-pleasure more than once. We hoped we hated the house.

First impressions on the day were less manic than expected. We arrived for our agreed slot to find the house empty, bar a solitary, shoe-less estate agent.

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Where were the promised hordes of eager house-hunters? We were assured that 15 sets of people would have toured the property by lunchtime.

As we were leaving, two other parties arrived at once and we all squeezed into the small hall, awkwardly taking our shoes on and off together.

Luckily, we didn't like it - no miserable bidding war, but also no house to buy.

New Year, new house? That's what I'd like for Christmas.