Schools have broken up and families are disappearing on their holidays and it is a time within our industry that has often been cited as a quiet one for business. I believe this downtime is a myth perpetuated by the idle and I'm very keen to dispel it. Its certainly business as normal at SellMyHome.co.uk.
I have lost count of the amount times I've heard some of our traditional counterparts suggest summer is a bad time to conclude business. This message has undoubtedly filtered through to customers with many people assuming it’s a bad season to try and sell up. Our industry subsequently enters a vicious cycle of stagnation. Sellers wait for summer's end, traditional estate agents take their holidays and the result is fewer people on the ground and therefore fewer sales. Its simply unnecessary and its not a true reflection of the market, which should not be undermined on the basis of this frustrating hiatus.
Last August showed the largest ever drop in asking prices, suggesting vendors were finding it difficult to sell and had to negatively address the price they were marketing their properties at. The director of Rightmove, Miles Shipside, said that “...a drop in August is typical but it’s steeper than expected this year”. HMRC released figures last July that suggested house sales in June were at their highest in seven years, though seasonal adjustment illustrated that house sales actually peaked in February – not June.
It’s not hard to see why sales may naturally drop in the warmer months – estate agents are away and families are busy on holidays - but I'm still not in the least bit convinced that this should affect the property market so drastically. I think we need to collectively buck this trend.
With the omnipresence of the internet we have perpetual access to search for properties. Rightmove and Zoopla have given us the keys to the kingdom, whilst smartphones and access to them, abroad or otherwise, means we simply don't have an excuse for idle downtime. Modern technology and the huge prevalence of the property market’s online presence means that in theory, a seasonal change shouldn’t make much difference to our buying and selling habits.
As an online estate agent our vendors conduct their own viewings – they don’t rely on having someone to show potential buyers around their house. Bad news for the traditional ones sunning themselves abroad. With the beautiful weather we are basking in, your home is probably looking at its best and potential buyers will be able to see it in its most flattering of lights.
If you choose to list your property at a time that’s not usually considered to be prime selling season, you could be putting yourself at an enormous advantage by breaking away from the norm – not least because you’ll have a lot less competition to contend with.
Although in the past summer has been quieter, the rise of the aforementioned portals and the emergence of savvy digital consumers is beginning to shift this perception. There is less reliance on summer holidaying high-street estate agents and times are changing for the better. Rightmove’s traffic data for 2014 shows that summer hasn’t stopped people from looking for a potential new home. In fact, Rightmove received its second highest number of transactions in August, clocking in at 114,720 hits, only a fraction less than its highest month, October, when the site received 113,990 transactions. Numbers were lowest in January and February, with 87,280 and 85,940 transactions respectively. Overall, summer was actually the strongest season of the year, which should help to dispel the myth of the summer slump.
I am delighted to say that last month at SellMyHome.co.uk we enjoyed our best ever month for properties taken on. I think this categorically illustrates that we needn't be dancing to seasonal tunes. Summer doesn’t have to be a quiet month for selling and buying homes – it definitely hasn’t been for us – last month we have shown that it’s possible to buck the trend of a slow moving summer for sales.
The digital age in which we live doesn't let up for anyone, its a 24/7, 365 day world, and property sales shouldn’t have to slow down just because the weather is warming.
Photo Credit: Primrose Hill by Mike Rolls