Selling your property in winter: a hot idea?

Traditionally, Melbourne vendors have hibernated or ventured to the overseas heat rather than putting their efforts into selling their homes in the winter period. But is this short-sighted? Gary Peer of Gary Peer and Associates shares his advice.

Choosing to sell in spring in the belief that it was when buyers “returned” has led many vendors over past decades to join the spring rush: but are they better off? And has the trend changed?

A few years ago I faced the very same dilemma, having built a new home and weighing up the date for my own home auction. I decided to sell on the first of August, even though the house was vacant and I could have waited a few months for the spring selling season.

It was a decision I am happy that I made.

While I don’t think my result would have been significantly worse in spring, I was pleased that I had five bidders and a result that exceeded my expectation. Cynics may say that I would have done as well or better in spring, but I have found that for quite a few years now, there seems to be an increasing trend of more bidders per property in winter than in the busy spring period afterwards.

My auction was held inside to avoid the pouring rain, but this was no deterrent to the serious bidders who attended and competed (or to the regular nosy neighbours who turn up to any auction).

My belief is that buyers that have a requirement to purchase (because they need to upgrade, relocate, downsize, etc) will be in the market for just about the entire year (with the exception of the summer holiday season), so why sell when your marketplace dilutes the spread of buyer attention with more listings, as is often the case with the spring selling season?

Spring also includes school holidays, Jewish holidays, the AFL grand final and the racing season. Many of these events are major distractions in the lives of the local community and need to be worked around when planning a sales campaign.

Our firm keeps very detailed statistics on sales trends, price movements and sales results compared to price expectations and against the vendors’ reserves. It is always interesting at the end of the year to do a winter-versus-spring market analysis to compare performance.