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Is Spring Still The Prime Time To Buy And Sell Property?

Thinking of selling or buying property? Spring is believed to be the peak of the real estate buying and selling season, but in 2021 does that still stand?

Why has spring traditionally been the peak of the real estate season

In Melbourne, there is one very unique reason why the property selling calendar heats up in spring. 

“The AFL is over,” explains Janet Spencer, Director Buyer Solutions Buyers Agents. With the finals played in September, the weekends are now more free for house inspections and auctions.

When daylight saving kicks in there is even more opportunity to show homes to potential buyers.

“Daylight saving is great for evening viewings after work, so sellers can have more open houses and buyers can get around to more viewings,” says Spencer.

Buying in spring can also be handy for families with children.

“People with school age children wanting to be near certain schools want to buy and move in before the end of January when the school year begins,” says Spencer.

It could also put you in your home for Christmas and New Year.

“If you buy in spring, you generally get to move into your new home before the silly season begins - that is, if your contract is a six week settlement,” explains Michelle May, Host of the Buy Your Side podcast. 

For sellers meanwhile, spring can be the best time to show off their home.

“Spring gardens lead to great photos, especially in more traditional suburbs,” says Spencer.

And is it this year?

Melbourne is set to have its second spring selling season affected by COVID. 

In 2020 the spring selling season was delayed until restrictions were lifted in October.

This year the September kick-off to spring selling has also been affected by rulings over property inspections. While regular open for inspections remains off the cards, one-on-one property inspections returned, once again from September 17. 

Woodards Northcote Director Mario Butera has nearly 50 years of experience in the real estate industry and has found winter to be as good as spring in the past. 

He points to a smaller amount of stock in the market in a normal year over winter, as an ideal condition for “fiercer competition” for homes and therefore, a better price.

However, current conditions point him towards a spring sale this year.

“I have never seen the market so hot, so I would advise to sell now,” says Butera.

“There is a fierce lack of stock now and more buyers in the market now - I wouldn’t risk waiting till next year to sell.”

Likewise, Spencer says the spring selling season will have a late start this year.

“Subject to when we open [from lockdown] we are looking more like November, instead of the traditionally “hot” October market – we should be about a month behind,” she says.

Buyers and sellers are adapting to current conditions

Both buyers and sellers are becoming more comfortable with transacting remotely and agents are also adapting to help people list in lockdown.

“We are conducting online appraisals through FaceTime, and also giving advice on how to prepare for sale,” says Butera.

As owners lead the agent “virtually” through the home, experienced agents can give good advice on preparing the house for sale, such as decluttering, small painting jobs and gardening. 

The house is then ready for a visit by a stylist to bring in new furniture and homewares.

With people at home in lockdown a manageable to-do list of jobs can be completed before sale.

Buyers are also adapting, with Butera saying that properties have continued to sell through lockdown this year despite physical property inspections only returning on 17th September.

“People are buying online,” says Butera.

“If they know the area, they drive past the home and are buying with no home visits.”

He says with many wanting to buy at a time of low interest rates and rising prices, people are looking beyond their dream property and considering other options.

“They might be willing to look in another suburb, or consider an apartment rather than a house in an area they really love,” he says.

That means apartments are also selling well, along with houses, and so this spring could also be the time to consider listing an investment unit. 

How to be ready to buy in the spring market

While people are still buying and selling during lockdown experts are expecting even more to come on the market when lockdown ends.

“There will be more stock to choose from once lockdowns end and we expect the market to rebound in Melbourne,” says Spencer.

She says it pays off to prepare for that time.

“Have finance pre-approval in place, have your 10% deposit ready, review your criteria and narrow target suburbs down,” she says.

Whether you are considering buying or selling property this spring, the Woodards team is available to help you reach your property goals.  Contact us today.