Q. I’m looking to buy a larger property and was hoping to sell in September to catch the autumn rush. But the way things are, I’m not sure there’s going to be one! What should I do?
A. The market is certainly quieter right now – and has been for some time, of course. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be an increase in activity this month, in fact we are already seeing the early signs of this in website traffic which is up by 25% from a month ago. Admittedly, it might be stretching a point to describe it as “the autumn rush!” Nevertheless, the fact remains that September usually sees something of an uplift in buyer activity – even if it’s only relative - and there’s no reason why this year should be any different.
However, it actually doesn’t matter very much whether there is a rush or not. The reality is that the housing market always has its busier times and its quieter periods. And despite the popular belief – particularly among sellers - that a busy market is almost by definition a good market, the terms are by no means interchangeable. Yes, there may well be more prospective buyers rushing around during “busy” times. But for precisely that reason, they will generally have a lot more properties to choose from as well.
As for whether or not you would be better advised to wait before putting your current home on the market…that all rather depends on how much you actually need to move – and the tone of your question certainly implies that you have some leeway as far as timing is concerned.
What this really comes down to, therefore, is the perennial question – shall I sell now or hang on for a better price?
Whatever’s happening to prices generally, it’s always tempting to wait. The one tiny flaw in this argument, however, is that we are currently in a falling market, so by waiting to go on the market, you're increasing the chances of receiving lower offers.
So, my advice is simple: if you are serious about moving, then there is really nothing to be gained by hanging on. Just be sure to listen to what your agent says about pricing – and be prepared to consider offers. Otherwise, you could be in for a rather longer wait that you bargained for!