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 days get longer, the sun shines and gardens burst into flower.
In “balanced” market conditions, this is probably a reasonable 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 normally quietens 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 with winter returning higher vacancies than summer.
Recent market doldrums 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 policies for first home buyers. 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 are flat with most commentators suggesting that’s a descriptor that’ll be around for some time. Supply levels metro-wide remain around 15,000, values have moved less than one percent over the past year and sales activity is subdued. Sellers who collectively wait for spring could flood the market putting upward pressure on selling times and potentially prices.
It is apparent 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 and have realistic expectations in relation to market values. 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 if inspecting when raining.
by Hayden Groves
REIA Deputy President