Should There Be an Autumn Selling Season?

Every year the residential market gears up for the Spring Selling Season, this month we take a look at whether or not spring is worth the hype.

Every year we hear all the hype and excitement around the ‘Spring Selling Season’ as September comes closer however, the cold hard facts are that the spring season doesn’t see the greatest level of sales activity although it does record the greatest number of listings.

An analysis taken across sales volumes between January 2000 and December 2009 has found that on a national basis, it is actually March that is the busiest month for house and unit sales.

property autumn selling season 

On average over the last 10 years March has accounted for about 9.3% of all dwelling transactions on a national basis. The results have shown that despite the fact that March is the busiest month for sales there is little fluctuation in sales activity except within December and January when sales volumes fall away markedly. Clearly once everything starts to settle down after the Christmas / new year period, attention turns back to the property market resulting in strong sales volumes during March.

Housing sales by month

Nationally, May has proven to be the second busiest month for property sales with almost 9.2% of all sales followed by: July, October and November.

Given the hype surrounding the ‘Spring Selling Season’, spring is only the second busiest season for purchasers with autumn attracting 26.6% of all sales compared to: 25.4% in spring, 25.3% in winter and 22.7% during summer. It’s also interesting to note that the largest volumes of spring sales are occurring in October which suggests that sales activity takes a while to pick up during the season, especially considering that both October and November record a much higher proportion of sales than September.

Looking at individual capital cities, in Sydney and Melbourne May has proven to be the busiest month for sales. Whilst in all other capitals except for Adelaide and Darwin, March is the busiest month for property sales. Within Adelaide, June has proven to be the busiest month for sales.

As a rule, you can’t have the sale of a property without it being listed for sale first and it takes a while to finalise the sale. Given what we have uncovered you would expect that February or March should be the busiest period for listings given the high level of sales activity in March, but it’s not so.

Housing listings by month

Nationally over the five years to December 2009 the greatest volume of listings occurred during November which recorded more than 9.1% of all listings. Coming in second is October which has accounted for 8.9% of all sales. It is interesting to see that the volume of listings climbs to its highest levels at a time when the market is approaching its slowest period for sales (December and January).

Across the individual capital cities, November is generally the busiest time to advertise a property for sale. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra all recorded November as their busiest month for listings. Brisbane had October as its equal busiest month whilst Perth’s busiest month for listings was March and Darwin’s busiest month was September.

The results show that spring is the busiest period to advertise a property however, it is interesting to note that it is the later part of spring which is the busiest time for listings. September, which kicks off the ‘Spring Selling Season’ is still the third busiest month of the year for listings however, the proportion of listings is below that recorded during October and November.
Although there is a ramping up in listings from August through to November, the increase in listings is not matched by a similar ramping up in sales activity. The strongest increase in sales activity is recorded between January and March each year at which time listings also ramp up.

Given these results the question needs to be asked, why are listings at their greatest level during a period of the year which, although it does see a significant level of sales activity doesn’t record the greatest level of activity? We suggest it is because coming out of the cold of winter the temperature is warmer and the flowers are blooming making it more attractive to lure potential buyers out of their homes and the homes for sale present better than they do through autumn or winter.

Despite this fact, you would think that you should have the greatest number of listings during the time when you record the greatest number of sales but this has not occurred. For vendors the results suggest that if you are looking to sell your property March (or autumn) is the time to do it as it is the month where historically the most sales have occurred. Given this, it is logical to expect that March would be the month when most buyers are actively looking to purchase property.

For purchasers, spring is the time in which they will generally have the greatest amount of choice within the market. However, if you are looking for the best deal, it may be wise to look around Christmas / new year. Despite that fact that at that time there are fewer properties listed for sales there is also a much lower level of competition for the housing stock and you may be able to get a better price.

Source: RP Data

Information printed in this article is current from: September 2010

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