Ah, spring. The days are getting longer and brighter, lambs are frolicking in the fields, and the magnolias are in full bloom. People are emerging from their winter hibernation and many of us immediately turn to house hunting. But why, exactly, is spring considered a good time to look for a new home? We explore why movers are full of the joys of spring below…
New year, new aspirations
Although agents usually start to get busy in March, many movers make plans well before the clocks go forward. Indeed, the property portals usually experience traffic spikes around Boxing Day and the New Year as people resolve to change their lives for the better in the coming twelve months.
Many agents actually encourage sellers, for example, to go to market in January to pre-empt the spring rush. There’s sound logic to this: find a buyer early on and you’ll be in a strong position to secure the home of your dreams when more properties flood the portals a few weeks later.
Wait for the weather
Having said that, however, there are clear advantages to launching properties in the prime months of spring. For starters, your house will naturally seem more enticing to potential movers: it’s lighter outside, you can open the windows and let fresh air in, your garden will have more colour, and the photographs in the marketing particulars will look more attractive, too.
Your choice of properties should also be greater. After all, there are lots more people looking to move - a big advantage considering the lack of housing stock available to buy in recent times. What’s more, sellers and landlords could secure a better price. More people viewing your property means more competition.
Finally, spring is a great time to look for a new home because many buyers are eager to complete over the school summer holidays, which are approximately three months away. If you want to move in July or August, then you’ll need to find a new home by May to allow enough time for surveys and conveyancing.
For all spring’s affability, however, it’s not all sweetness and light. More eager movers means there’s more competition to secure the best properties. Therefore, if the prospect of a bidding war or sealed bids sends a chill down your spine, then it could be time to bid goodbye to your house-hunting aspirations for now.
Bargain hunters will know that the best time to move is when there’s decent stock but relatively few rivals to scupper your plans. And sadly, you won’t find many highly motivated sellers and landlords with few options at their disposal during spring.
What’s more, even if you do manage to find somewhere at a decent price, you’ll find it harder (and therefore more expensive) to find a removals company at the busiest times of the year.
Summer is a funny time of year. The days are long, new properties look fantastic, but agents are usually quiet when the kids break up. Consequently, don’t expect the market to be awash with heavenly homes aching for hungry house hunters. Indeed, most of the homes marketed on the portals will already be ‘under offer’ or ‘let agreed’.
Having said that, it’s still eminently possible to find a new home in the summer months. Indeed, you might be able to (a) grab a bargain that was left on the shelf after the spring rush, or (b) gobble up a prime property that has expectedly become available again because a previous deal fell through. Serendipity is one of the best attributes a house hunter can have.
An autumn breeze?
Rather than launching new instructions in July and August, when many movers are sunning themselves in Sardinia or the Seychelles, agents sometimes advise landlords and sellers to wait until autumn to list their property. This is traditionally the second busiest time of year.
September is a particularly good time to look for a new home: people have returned from their holidays, the kids are back in school, the weather’s still good, and there’s plenty of time before Christmas. What’s more, if you do find the perfect pad, you should be able to find a good deal on your removals and surveys. After all, the summer rush is over.
The winter freeze
November and December are the least popular months to look for a new home. There’s ice on the roads, the weather’s turned foul, and many new instructions only come to market because of the three dreaded Ds: debt, divorce, and death.
Consequently, unless they desperately need a sale, many buyers will take their properties off the market and relist in the New Year (perhaps with a new agent). Landlords might decide to do the same. The bottom line is that very few people want to move over Christmas. And showing homes during this busy period is a drag, too.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. If you do decide to look for a new home during winter then you might find a bargain. After all, sellers, in particular, are often very motivated at this time of year and might accept a low offer if everything can be signed and sealed before Chrimbo.
The flip side, of course, is that you might have to be patient. The market won’t be flushed with properties that pique your interest - though your chances will improve once January and February roll around. And then it’s back to spring once again.
So is spring the best time to look for a new home?
In a word, yes. The portals are packed with plentiful properties, and aspiration and optimism are in the air. However, every house hunter will be looking for something different in his or her search; therefore spring won’t suit everyone.
If you want an array of homes to choose from, and don’t mind mixing it with competing house hunters, then spring will be right up your street. However, if you’re looking for good value then summer, autumn, or even winter might be the charm.
One thing to remember, of course, is that looking for a new home and physically moving are two very different things. Spring is the most popular time to find a new pad but most families prefer to actually move in the summer months, so kids can get settled before the new school year.
The thing to remember, of course, is that moving in the summer holidays means you’ll need to look for that new home two or three months beforehand. And that’s another reason why, for the majority of people, spring is the best time for house hunters to spring into action.