Are house sales by seasonality becoming a myth?

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Fionnuala Earley, Head of Market Insight at MyHomeGroup
Written by Head of Market Insights at MyHomeGroup, Fionnuala Earley.

The housing market has traditionally been characterised by the seasons, more sales in the spring and summer and a quieter time in the autumn and winter. But it seems that some of this seasonality is softening...

As the more difficult markets we have endured since the financial crash, along with expectations about the UK's future (inside or outside of Europe) could be breaking up this tradition.

Since 2007 the proportion of sales made in the slowest months has been increasing, while the proportion in the strongest months has been falling.

Average house sales by month pre-2017

That’s probably because the slower market since the financial crash means that sales are less likely to be discretionary and so dictated less by the traditional holiday and climate seasons. But it could also be that sellers are wising up to the seasonality of buyers’ interest.

Difference in estimated property numbers between surveyor's market opinions and real buyer enquiries.

Data from surveyors show that the annual pick-up in buyer enquiries is typically in January, but that instructions for sale doesn’t pick up till later on. The biggest gap between surveyors’ opinions of buyer demand and new sale instructions is typically in January.

Monthly changes in house sales between pre-decade 1 and pre-decade 2

So, to increase the chances of a faster sale it would be wise to be ready to go when the buyers are eager in the months that have traditionally been thought to be out of season. That’s even more important in a slower market where there is competition for the available buyers.

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