How Calendar Dates Can Affect The Property Market
Calendar events can have a dramatic impact on the property market.
From Christmas to Easter, to school holidays, to which day of the week certain public holidays fall, the way the calendar looks each year will impact on the movements of house hunters and dictate the way you should market a property.
The New Year’s resolution rush
The New Year almost always brings new interest in the property market. That’s partly because over the Christmas/January holiday period people are busy with family and holidays rather than house hunting. It’s also partly because the low stock levels over that period have come to an end – so buyers actually have something to look at again. And, it’s also partly because a lot of people are acting on their New Year’s resolution to make a move this year, or get into the market.
We also find many in this group are only in a very preliminary stage of looking.
24 February 2018: the serious selling season begins
In Sydney, a typical auction campaign last four weeks. And, given agents are often hesitant to list a property prior to Australia Day, that means February’s final Saturday is often the year’s first big auction day, as well as the first real barometer of where the market is at.
In 2018, this fell on Saturday 24 February, when 893 Sydney properties went under the hammer, achieving an auction clearance rate of 71.7%, according to CoreLogic. In Sydney’s east, we saw strong sales and good competition.
The effects of an early Easter
School holidays and public holidays tend to be times when agents and sellers shy away from auctions or even open homes, reasoning that buyers will be doing other things. Usually, that means the first real slowing of the property market after its late February season launch, comes with the Easter school holidays.
This year, however, Easter falls on the final weekend in March, with the school holidays not coming until late April. We think that’s likely to have a “twin peaks” effect, where the property market gets going early before stock dries up in March. Then a new batch of listings will be released again in April giving buyers properties to choose from come May.
The winter chill really isn’t that bad
A lot of people will tell you that winter isn’t a great time to list a property. For this reason, the June long weekend – in 2018, Saturday 9 June – traditionally becomes the time of year that the number of listings falls. We take a different approach.
It’s true that there are often fewer people out and about in winter but the ones who are looking tend to be genuine buyers. When this combines with a lower number of listings, it means that the middle of the year can be a great time to sell.
Spring in the air
Along with autumn, Spring is the traditional selling season and there’s a lot of debate over which of the two seasons is the best time to list. That’s because buyers come out in force, gardens look at their best, and people generally begin feeling upbeat as the weather starts to look up. In September, particularly after the grand final/Labour Day long weekend which falls on Saturday 30 September 2018, things really start to pick up.
In Spring, increased buyer interest usually means increased auction numbers and that can help drive up property prices. On the flipside, a higher number of listings means that it can also be harder to stand out from the crowd.
That said, the end of Spring is when a lot of people start to feel time pressure, especially if they’ve pledged to be in their new home by Christmas. That means it’s a time of year when people get serious about putting their best foot forward.
The holiday mood sets in
Usually, the first weekend in December is the last big auction weekend of the year. After that, the listings begin to fade and people begin to think of holidays. We don’t usually advise anyone to start an auction campaign around this time of year. But that doesn’t mean we don’t sell any property. Instead, this can be a great time of year for off-market campaigns because people who are still looking for property tend to be serious. Also, new buyers in the form of expats and offshore buyers often come into the market, combining their property search with a Sydney holiday.
There is always debate over the best time of year to sell. And, while the calendar shapes the property market, there are advantages and disadvantages to selling at any time of year.