Don’t let the winter chill halt your selling plans

Written by Hayden Groves in Property News on June 15, 2012

It is well understood that the property market moves with the seasons, as many vendors in Western Australia choose to hold off their selling plans in the winter months.  This often results in flat market conditions in June through to August, with the market picking up in spring when both gardens and moods improve.  However, with the winter months now here, holding off your selling plans until spring does not always result in a higher selling price, and selling in winter is definitely something worth consideration.

Property market moving with the seasons

In “balanced” market conditions, holding off selling until spring time can be a reasonable strategy; an attractive garden can add genuine value to a property and there is a more positive atmosphere about once winter ends. Certainly, the residential rental market “nods off” during winter with notably fewer tenant enquiries for vacant properties during the cooler months of the year. The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia’s statistics consistently reveal vacancy rates often move with the seasons, even during high rental demand periods.  From September through to March the vacancy rate normally drops and rises again during winter.

Property owners also tend to be less enthusiastic to move during the winter months for reasons similar to those displayed by tenants, although broader market conditions have far more impact on selling outcomes than the seasons alone. It would be foolish to hold off selling in winter if the market conditions were short on supply and high on demand, particularly if future trends indicated a move towards market parity. Obviously, more recent market conditions have been the reverse with excess supply and soft demand.


Winter not the time to hold off selling

The current market conditions indicate that sellers would be wise to seriously consider selling sooner rather than later this year. The fifteen year average for the number of properties listed for sale is 12,000, and currently a marginal oversupply prevails with property listings dropping to under 14,000 in Perth metro.  As the volume of sales begins to increase, we will likely see the number of listings continue to drop, indicating a chance to get your property on the market when demand is high.

Stock in our local market of Fremantle has also fallen as the volume of sales begins to increase. The number of properties for sale has fallen 16.6 per cent since this time last year representing 2.2 percent of all dwellings in the area. The Fremantle sub-region had 652 dwelling sales for past 12 months compared to 563 for the previous twelve months period.

A further consideration for would-be sellers is that if many other like-minded sellers hold off going to market during winter, then spring brings with it an over-supply of property to market, buyers become spoilt for choice and downward pressure on prices results. In the current climate, the local property market does not need a surge of listings in the spring.

Buying in winter is also a reasonable idea, as some buyers (like tenants) are more inclined to stay put during the cooler months, giving those that are looking to buy an environment with fewer competing buyers about. Of course, any time of the year is a good time to sell if you are buying and selling in the same market conditions.

Many homes are also lovely and cozy in winter and present themselves well to would-be buyers. Those homes with effective passive solar design and northern orientation shine and a crackling fire in the corner or bubbling spa under the patio can do wonders to buyer sentiments. If selling in winter, make sure your winter weeds are pulled, any moss and mildew on paths, walls and bathrooms removed and try and hold inspections when the weather forecast is fine and the sun high in the sky.