When Is The Best Time To Sell A House?

When Is The Best Time To Sell A House?
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Ever wondered if there is a best time to sell a house? Well, there is, and also a worst time to put your house up for sale. Find out when you can expect to sell the fastest and for the highest price.

When you decide to put your home on the market, you hope to sell it quickly and for a good price, right? There are many things you can do to achieve this, and one of them is to choose the right time.

It might sound weird, but timing matters. There is even a best time to sell a house and a worst. And while you won’t always have the luxury to decide in which month to put your home up for sale, if you do, you should choose wisely.

Generally speaking, spring is the best time, while summer and winter are the worst. However, there is more to it than that, so it’s only right that we drill down further.

Using our experience of having sold and bought several houses over the years, we will enlighten you as to when you should sell your home and when not to.

Best time to sell your house at a glance

MonthMonth 2Month 3
JanuaryFebruaryMarch
AprilMayJune
JulyAugustSeptember
OctoberNovemberDecember

Table Legend: Red = bad, Orange = OK, Green = Great

Timing is (almost) everything

timing

While there are many other factors to consider, the timing of when you put your house on the market is an important one. That’s because the property market operates on a cycle.

Understanding this cycle will help you to make the most of the buyer demand when it’s at its strongest. So let’s get down to it…

Selling a home in spring

The months of March, April and May are seen as the busiest in the property market cycle. Spring is a time of awakening, when nature springs back to life.

Everything looks better in spring, including gardens and properties. But people also wake up from the slumber of winter and are ready for a fresh start. Often this means moving into a new home.

The first time we sold a house we chose to wait until spring to do so (even though we made the decision a few months earlier). We knew that’s when the market would be the most active and that the property would look at its best.

It worked out well for us too as we had several asking price offers after the first weekend on sale!

While all three months are busy, the best time to sell a house is March. And not just in spring, but in the whole year. Why is that? Let’s find out…

March is King

march

When deciding which month is a good one to sell a house, we have to look at how quickly a property finds a buyer. According to Rightmove’s data, in March a house sells on average in 57 days. This is the lowest number in the year.

But why? What’s so great about March? Well, it actually starts in January. The start of a new year is often also the start of a new chapter in life for many.

People start thinking about moving and doing research to find out what is available, what can they afford and so on. This demand increases steadily and by March, a large number of buyers are ready to make offers.

And that’s why March is the best month to sell a property. So putting your house on the market at the start of March will give you the biggest chance to sell your property quickly and for a good price.

April and May

The momentum that started in January and peaked in March continues into April and May.

And another factor also comes into play. Summer is on the way and a new, maybe bigger, garden beckons to enjoy it in.

This makes spring the best time to sell a house. So if you have a choice, we would recommend putting your house on the market in March to profit from the high demand.

Selling a house in the summer

As spring turns into summer, the demand starts to slow down and grinds to a hold. So if you are considering to put your house on the market in summer, it’s important to choose the right month.

June is still busy

While June is slower than the months in spring, it’s still a great month to sell your house. It’s getting warmer and the draw of a nice garden to have BBQs in is still there.

July

summer temperatures

As the weather becomes hotter, buyers start to withdraw from the property market. The first two weeks of the month are still good, but as school holidays draw closer, demand starts to drop off.

Longer sunny evenings invite potential buyers to meet friends and family and have a good time. Looking at properties starts to take a backseat.

So if you are thinking of putting your home on the market in July, prepare for a longer ride until you find a buyer.

August is a big “no, no”

When summer hits the peak, buyer demand reaches a trough. Kids are off school, it’s summer holiday season and the warm and sunny weather is better spent enjoying.

The last thing most people want to do this month is look for houses. So many put their search on hold or delay it until after the holiday season.

If you can help it, avoid putting your house on the market in August.

Selling a house in the autumn

Once kids are back to school and holidays have come and gone, people turn back to the market. Activity picks up again, albeit rather slower than in spring and not for long.

September

autumn

Momentum starts to build again at the start of September and becomes stronger towards the end of the month. While not an ideal month to put your house on the market, it’s better than August.

There are two reasons: people want to find a home before Christmas, so they can move in the new year. And some think there is still a potential for people to move into a new home just in time for Christmas.

October

The momentum from September continues into October, making it an OK month to sell your home, at least the start of the month is.

If you look at Rightmove’s average data for how long it takes to sell a house, the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November are the worst.

On average, it takes 79 days to get an offer on a property, compared with 57 days in March, the best time to sell a house.

November is another big “no, no”

So while November is often seen as still an OK month to sell your home, the figures suggest otherwise. But is it that surprising?

Christmas is only a few weeks away and many are busy to prepare. Most people won’t be in the mood to focus on house hunting.

We decided to list our previous house in late autumn (November to be precise) and in hindsight, it was a mistake.

We had considered waiting until the new year but decided to give it a shot as we were keen to move as soon as possible. While we had a surprising amount of interest in the first couple of weeks, the unusual layout of the home was making it more difficult to find a buyer than we hoped.

While viewing requests continued right up to, and over, the Christmas period, they did become much less frequent.

We were hoping it would pick up again in the New Year but, to be honest, it didn’t. I think by then the property was dropping down the ‘recent’ listings and people were wondering why it hadn’t sold. This together with a lot of people waiting to list in the New Year made our house less attractive.

In the end, we didn’t get an acceptable offer until the middle of March, meaning we were on the market for 4.5 months. We’ll never know if we could have sold quicker if we had waited until the New Year (or even spring) to list, but it did feel like listing in later autumn was probably a mistake for us.

Selling a house in the winter

Selling a house in the winter might not be the best idea. However, there are always those that will try to rush things to spend Christmas in a new house.

The cold season isn’t the best time to sell a house. When it’s cold, rainy and maybe even snowy out there, most people prefer to stay inside in the warmth.

December is Christmastime

After demand drops in November, it almost disappears in December. Not surprisingly, buyers will tend to be preoccupied with their Christmas preparations, and the days have got shorter.

Christmas is a busy time of the year without having to go and view houses. So December is a bad month to put your house on the market.

The only house hunters still active tend to be the ones that are hoping to pick up a bargain. So unless you are willing to let your home go for a low price, you better stay away from the market in this month.

That said, Boxing Day is the busiest month for online property searches on Rightmove. Many sellers decide to put their house on the market on that day to catch the rush.

However, while many wannabe buyers turn their eyes to the property market straight after Christmas, most take their time to start going out to view properties. After all, the time between Christmas and New Year is for lounging, relaxing, eating and drinking, right?

January – New Year, new home?

New Year is the time when some people start looking for a new home, but also when not many deals are completed.

We have already said that January is the month when activity picks up again for real. After the first two weeks, when people get used to being back at work again, buyer demand increases.

The reason is obvious: the start of the New Year is also seen as a fresh start and moving house is a favourite fresh start.

However, most people only start their search for a new home in January, so it’s unlikely that they will find their dream home immediately. They need to figure out what they want, need and can afford.

Putting your home on the market in January might bring you viewings, but don’t count your chickens yet, because offers might still be scarce.

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February is when momentum grows

Once we get into February, the momentum grows, especially in the second half of the month. As the days get longer, buyers get roused and start to look for a new home in earnest.

We are now approaching the best time to sell a house in the UK, the month of March.

As you can see, selling your home in winter isn’t ideal, but towards the end of the season, the prospects start to look good again.

So here you go, this concludes the year, and you know when the best time is to put your house on the market. But while timing is important, it’s not everything.

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Other considerations when selling a house

There are many other factors that will dictate how quickly you are able to sell your house. The time of the year is just one of them. Others include:

  • Supply and demand
  • Property type
  • Area
  • Property condition

Let’s look at each of these factors in more detail…

Understanding supply and demand when selling a house

There are several reasons to sell a house, and being on a hot market is definitely one of them.

Supply and demand depend on various things, such as the time of the year. As we have seen in August and December, people are focussed on other things, while in spring moving is on their minds.

Generally, supply and demand vary according to the property cycle. That’s why we can say when is the best time to sell a house and when it’s worth waiting to put your house on the market.

However, the supply and demand of properties will also fluctuate depending on other circumstances, including:

  • How well the economy is doing – a recession will put people off selling (and buying too)
  • Mortgage rates can also have an impact – when rates are low demand and supply is up, and when they are high, the market is slow with demand and supply being low
  • Other issues outside of anyone’s control such as a pandemic – we have seen a national lockdown in 2020 bring the UK’s housing market to a grinding halt
  • Financial stimulation – changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax system can increase or decrease demand, depending on what the changes are
  • Government intervention – such as when the government introduced a stamp duty holiday after the first lockdown during the pandemic
  • New developments – if a new construction project or housing development has been approved near you, then demand might fall

For example, Rightmove recently released their 2024 analysis of property sales made on the platform. In light of the economic climate, current mortgage rates, and the effects of the mini-Budget, February came out as one of the best months to sell a property.

As you can see, all these factors influence supply and demand. If you understand these, you will be able to put your house on the market at the best time.

Selling different property types

The timeframes we have discussed above cover the property market as a whole. But different types of properties sell better at different times.

That’s because they attract different types of buyers. There are generally three main buyer groups:

  • First-time buyers – buying flats and 1- to 2-bedroom houses
  • Second-stepper buyers – buying family homes with 3 to 4 bedrooms
  • Downsizing buyers – buying retirement homes or bungalows

Depending on which category your home falls into, there will be different times when it will sell best.

Selling a terraced house or a flat

Selling a terraced house or a flat is normally for young couples and first-time buyers, so January, February or September are good times for it.

If you are selling a terraced house, or a one- or two-bedroom flat, then your target buyer group will be first-time buyers. This means mostly young individuals or couples, and they are most active in:

  • January
  • February
  • September

This buyer group is most active in January and February, as they will want to start their new year with moving into their first home. It is these buyers that tend to be the ones who are keen to begin hunting for a new home in the New Year.

While other buyer groups will only just start to think about what they want, young couples and first-time buyers already know and are ready to find their dream home.

They will of course continue to look for a home in spring and then withdraw from the market in summer, when they are occupied with their holiday.

But as soon as September arrives, they will be back house hunting, hoping to move into their new home in time for Christmas.

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Selling family homes

family

Whether yours is a three- or four-bedroom family home, you’re looking at those buyers who are wanting to move up the housing ladder. They either are planning children or already have them.

This last point means the best time to sell will be outside any school holidays, including half-terms, Easter and the summer holidays. Because when their kids are off, they are too busy to look for houses.

Essentially, any time that is not a school holiday is a good time to sell a three- or four-bedroom family home.

If you want to determine how attractive your family home is to prospective buyers, you can use this assessment tool by Abbasov (2018). One key factor highlighted in the assessment is the number of rooms in your property.

Selling retirement homes and bungalows

The buyers of retirement homes and bungalows tend to be those who are older and looking to downsize. While they would have time to hunt for a new home all year round, they are most active in the following months:

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

You might have guessed why. These are the warmer months. Retired people tend to go on holiday outside the main holiday season and when it’s cold here in the UK.

So the best time to sell a house to this buyer group is when it’s nice and warm outside.

According to the Office of National Statistics (2023), the number of those aged 65 and over rose to over 11 million in 2021 from 9.2 million in 2011. This statistic is estimated to rise in the coming years, so demand for age-appropriate properties is expected to increase as well.

Regional differences

The property market consists of many smaller submarkets that all behave differently. While some regions might be doing really well, others might struggle.

So how do you know how your region is performing? One source of knowledge is your estate agent. A good estate agent should have the local knowledge necessary to understand the market in the area you want to sell.

With their experience, they should be able to sell your property no matter what the conditions are in your region.

Property Condition

7 Things That Turn-Off Home Buyers

While many of the above-mentioned factors are out of your control, this one you can influence. It’s no secret that a home that is in good condition sells faster than a house that needs a lot doing to it.

Even the best time to sell a house won’t be of much use if buyers are put off by your tired decor or the various broken bits and pieces.

To increase the chances to sell your home fast and for a good price, it’s important to prepare your house for selling. Things you can do include:

  • Redecorating
  • Repairs
  • Declutter
  • Good Clean

Additionally, the uniqueness of your property can affect the selling time. Shen & Springer (2022) determined that houses with more bathrooms spend more time on the market. Meanwhile, those with larger square footage need more marketing time.

Read our guide about how to prepare your home for sale to find out more.

When is the best time to sell my house?

As we have seen, the best time to sell a house will depend on various factors. The time of year has a big impact, because demand will vary throughout the year. Spring is the best time and August, November and December are the worst times.

But there are other factors that will influence how quickly you can sell your house. Even your neighbourhood may have an impact on how long it takes to sell your home.

The economic situation, the type of house you sell and the condition of your home all play into it. The key to selling your home quickly is to understand supply and demand. And the time of year plays a big part in it.

But at the end of the day, the best time to sell your house is when you are ready. If you have the luxury to decide when to put your house on the market, great. If not, don’t worry too much about it.

Authors

  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

    View all posts
  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

    View all posts
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