Renting or Selling in Winter

Disclaimer: These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

During the winter months, when market conditions can be flat, vendors often choose to hold off on their selling plans until spring when both gardens and moods improve.

In “balanced” market conditions, this is probably not such a bad strategy; an attractive garden can add genuine value to a property and there is a more positive atmosphere about once winter ends. Certainly, the residential rental market “nods off” during winter with notably fewer tenant enquiries for vacant properties during the cooler months of the year. REIWA statistics shows that vacancy rates often move with the seasons, even during high rental demand periods.

The artificially stimulated market of 2009 and the recent market downturn have muddled more recent statistics such that any vacancy rate trend is overridden by stronger market forces such as falling interest rates, consumer confidence, population trends and government policy. Similarly, property owners tend to be less enthusiastic to move during the winter months for reasons similar to those displayed by tenants.

For sellers, however, broader market conditions have far more impact on selling outcomes than do the seasons. It would be foolish to hold off selling in winter if the market conditions were short on supply and high on demand, particularly if future trends indicated a move towards market parity. Certainly, the current market conditions indicate that property owners are likely to have some time to make a selling or buying decision as the market settles into an equitable and balanced one.

One important consideration for would-be sellers is that if many other like-minded sellers hold off going to market during winter, then spring brings with it an over-supply of property to market, buyers become spoilt for choice and further downward pressure on prices results.

In the current climate, the last thing the property market needs is more houses for sale.

It appears that any time of the year can be a good time to sell, especially if you are buying and selling in the same market conditions. Fremantle properties can be gorgeously cosy in winter, properties with great passive solar design and northern orientation shine and, for buyers, you’ll know if the roof leaks.

by Hayden Groves
REIWA President
REIA Deputy President

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