These days, most people are aware that the peak times for selling a home are spring and autumn. Summer is traditionally thought of as a quieter period, especially in an area like Marylebone where many of its residents go abroad at that of year. However, you can’t always choose when to sell, but there are some serious advantages to selling in summer and, statistics show, it’s nowhere near as quiet as you might think.
Over the last few years, the difference in the number of transactions between spring and summer has been relatively small. The monthly variation in 2015, for example, was just 12.5% from its lowest point, which was in January (not summer) when there were 93,920 transactions, to its highest point in October when there were 107,330 transactions (source: HMRC). HMRC’s figures relate to completed sales, so the properties were likely to have been put on the market 2-3 months earlier, meaning you need to look at the completed transactions between August to November to get an accurate picture of how the summer stock sold. In those months, in 2015, the number of sales ranged between 104,400 and 107,330 - in other words, close to the top end of the monthly figures for that year.
Going back a little further, in 2013 there was a larger spread of 22% from top to bottom. Again, the figures show that summer sales were at the upper end of the spectrum, just 7% to 15% below the peak month of December.
There’s no doubt there have been a number of one-off events in the last few years that have had an effect on monthly transactions, such as the elections, the EU Referendum and various stamp duty changes. But, however far back you look, the variation from the top performing month to the bottom is commonly just 10% to 15% and the bottom month is normally January or December. The only real exception was the property crash of 2008 when transactions slumped by nearly 46%.
So, as you can see, transactions don’t fall off a cliff the moment summer arrives, as many assume. In fact, far from it - prices do dip, very slightly, but not every year and sometimes the summer sees some of the better transaction volumes, especially if the spring market has been interrupted by some kind of vote or another.
Better still, in summer everything looks so much lighter and brighter, with those outside spaces really coming to life. It does mean you need to make sure gardens, balconies and roof terraces are well maintained. And, all that bright sunshine can cast an unkind light on dusty corners and dirty windows, but with a little care, your home will look so much more attractive than it ever could in the depths of winter.
If, after all that, you’re still looking for reasons to sell this summer - with less stock on the market, there is less competition and buyers tend to be more serious.
But, if you want to take advantage of all the good things that come with summer, you need to start thinking about it now, because, otherwise, before you know it, it will be over!