When Is the Best Time Of Year To Buy A Property?

The UK property market fluctuates at different times of the year. There are times of year that the experts believe it is best to sell a property and ones during which it is best to stay put. So what does that mean for you as a buyer or seller? Here is all the info you need to know, from when to start your search to making a comparison of local conveyancers.

Data from the most recent report on the UK House Price Index shows the average UK house price annual growth grew by 1.3% in the year to September 2019, staying the same as August 2019. Average house prices in the UK fell by 0.2% between August 2019 and September 2019, compared with a fall of 0.2% during the same period a year earlier (August 2018 and September 2018). The UK Property Transactions Statistics for September 2019 showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the estimated number of transactions on residential properties with a value of £40,000 or greater was 101,740. This is 2.3% higher than a year ago. Between August 2019 and September 2019, transactions increased by 5.0%.

While current economic trends have the most influence when it comes to prices, trends in prices can be explained by seasonal affect.

The Property Market In The Summer

According to a paper by the London School of Economics, the UK property market experiences an increase in both prices and volume of transactions when the weather starts to get warmer. Not only that, but it seems that prices begin to rise at about the same time. Maybe this is because for many buyers, spring and summer are ideal times to think about moving house. The weather is more pleasant, and any to-ing and fro-ing can be done in more comfortable conditions. Spring tends to be the most popular time to buy, which could explain the higher prices at this time of year. Sellers have the upper hand and more people are looking for a new property.

Autumn And Early Winter And A Drop In House Prices

The same study explained that the opposite is true when the weather is cold. House prices and property transactions fall between October and March, though towards the end of March, demand increases meaning prices pick up too. During the winter months there is less activity and owners tend to sell at a discount.

Though there are fewer opportunities during this time of year, buyers in general, specifically landlords, could use it to their advantage. Sellers might be more keen to sell and buyers will have more bargaining power. There is also a slight hike in demand mid-September when the kids are back to school and families are often looking to move.

Interestingly, mortgage interest rates in the U.K. do not seem to show a seasonal pattern.

What About Brexit?

Brexit is undoubtedly having an impact on the UK housing market as the industry is clouded by uncertainty. A no-deal Brexit, the default position if an agreement cannot be reached between the UK and EU, would be the worst case scenario in terms of the property market and many experts have expressed concern. Accountancy firm KPMG predicted that house prices would fall by up to 6% after a no-deal Brexit going on to say that the worst case scenario, they could drop by as much as 20%. In July 2019, the Office for Budget Responsibility stated that a no-deal Brexit could mean house prices could by almost 10% by mid-2021.

When Is the Best Time Of Year To Buy A Property?

While there are clear seasonal trends in house prices and the market has more opportunities during the second and third quarter, the ideal time to buy will always depend on you, your finances, and your objectives. Every season has its pros and cons but when committing to such a life changing decision, you have to find the right time in personal circumstances. If price is what is driving you, you might consider late autumn and winter to be the best options for you.

Regional Trends

Over the past two years, the market has seen subdued or falling prices in London and southern regions. In these regions, affordability has become increasingly tight and affected by rising property prices in cheaper northern cities.

Things could be on the change though. House prices in London have risen by the biggest amount in two years. Less than a quarter of London boroughs suffered a drop in prices during October, compared with 85% a year ago. This might be due to a decrease in the number of new properties for sale restricting supply.

Currently, there are signs that demand is on the rise, which combined with the falling supply, is increasing prices even more.

However, although the growth in property value remains strongest in northern cities, the pace of the rise has begun to slow down. No cities have seen an annual price inflation of above 5%.

Final Thoughts

Whilst seasonal patterns are definitely worth considering, remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to selling a house. Annual market trends may be affected by a number of other variables such as the kind of property you’re selling, the area you live in, your budget and so on. By taking all of these factors into account, you should be able to work out the perfect time to put your property on the market.

Conveyancing

Whatever the time of year, buying, selling or re-mortgaging a property requires a licenced Conveyancing Solicitor to conduct the legal side of the transaction.

Conveyancing is the term covering the legal and administrative process that comes with the transfer of ownership of buildings or land from one person to another. Depending on the transaction, this can be a complex process and should always be carried out by a licenced conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor. A conveyancing solicitor should be instructed by both parties involved in the transaction to make sure the necessary searches are conducted, fees paid to the appropriate parties and contracts and documents signed and transferred, amongst other things. We advise you to make a comparison of several firms before choosing a conveyancing solicitor. Making a comparison of solicitors involves looking at the fees charged against the services offered.

You can make a conveyancing comparison compare quotes for panel solicitors by using our online conveyancers comparison tool.

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