Buying a house: When are the best and worst times to do it?

Buying a house: When are the best and worst times to do it?


Just like the weather, the property market can be affected by the seasons – but is there really a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ time to buy?

We’ve put together this helpful guide and spoken to CJ Hole property expert Rob Smith for the very best advice on when to buy a property

 

What month is the best time to buy a house?

April or May are generally the best times to buy a house in the UK.

There are usually more properties on the market as sellers emerge from winter and consider a move, while the market is generally more active once the weather starts to warm up and the clocks go forward.

“The pandemic has seen a huge surge in house prices and the housing market is currently at an unexpected high, with no signs of it dropping this year,” says Rob Smith Managing Director of CJ Hole.

“Based on previous years, spring is the best time to sell a property, with spikes occurring every April/May.

“With plenty of properties on offer, be prepared for fierce bidding wars as the spring market rush begins.

“If you’ve got office space and a garden, your property will be in high demand, and you could get a great price for it this April.”

 

What is the slowest month for estate agents?

Winter is largely considered the slowest period for the property market.

As the nights draw in and Christmas approaches at pace, the market often slows up, with fewer properties for sale and fewer buyers looking to purchase.

“Buying during winter can sometimes be a good approach, however,” says Rob.

“As it’s generally harder to sell in winter, vendors who need to move may be open to lower offers.

“However, if you do look at buying in late autumn or early winter, you’ll need to factor in the time required to complete before Christmas.”

 

Is summer a good time to buy a property?

Summer can sometimes be a great time to buy – although the number of properties available can be fewer due to potential sellers taking holidays.

“The market often slows up during July and August, while children are off school, and families look to get away for a break,” says Rob.

“Properties are still up for sale, though, and for buyers this represents a chance to start looking while the market is less busy.”

 

Buying a house in autumn

After the summer holidays, the property market often sees a slight resurgence during early autumn, particularly during September.

“Once children return to school, the market generally sees a spike in demand through September,” says Rob.

“For buyers, September generally gives them enough time to complete before the festive period begins and there can be something really special about being in a new home for Christmas.”

 

When is the best time to move?

Moving can be stressful at any time of year.

But there’s no doubt that it can be easier in certain seasons.

“Removals companies are usually less busy late in spring or after the summer holidays,” says Rob.

“With children being back at school from September, late summer and early autumn are among the best times of year to move.

“Summer and winter can be more difficult, due to either extremely hot or very cold weather.”

 

What is the best age to be when buying a home?

The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is now 32, according to research.

“Although the average age of homebuyers in the country has risen alongside property prices, there’s no definite rules or advice on how old you should be when buying,” says Rob.

“Buying when older means you’ll have more of a credit history, which can make it easier to get a mortgage than when you’re younger with little or no borrowing on your credit report.

“But the earlier you can buy, the younger you’re likely to be when you’ve paid down your mortgage.”

 

Tips for moving home at any time of year

Regardless of whether you're moving in spring, summer, autumn or winter, there are a whole host of things you can do to make your move much less stressful, says Rob.

 

1. Start planning as soon as your offer is accepted

While starting to pack as soon as your offer is accepted would be extreme, it’s wise to start planning for your move as soon as you can.

“Removals companies get busy,” says Rob, “so starting to enquire about their availability early is a good idea.

“You can also start doing an inventory of your things – deciding what you will take with you when you move and what you’ll either sell, donate or dump.”

 

2. Break down your packing into sections

By starting to pack away things you use very little, you can get a head start when the real packing begins closer to your moving date.

“Start with the rooms or areas of your property you use the least,” says Rob.

“These can be done as early as you like and will reduce the amount of work nearer your completion date.  

“As you move through the sales process and get closer to that date, progress on to other rooms you use more often.”

 

3. Be organised with wires, screws, and bolts

Moving home can be frantic and it’s easy for smaller items to be lost either when packing or on moving day itself.

“Anything you dismantle will require construction again in your new home,” says Rob, “so try to organise your fittings and wires for devices like TVs in an orderly way. 

“The last thing you'll want is a TV without a power lead when you arrive at your new home.”

 

4. Pack a box of key items

When you arrive at your new property, it will likely be a sea of boxes and furniture.

So, packing a bag or box of key items and take these with you rather than placing them in the removals van.

“Before you start unpacking, you'll almost certainly want a cup of tea, coffee or something colder,” says Rob.

“So, pack a box with milk, sugar, tea bags, coffee, a bottle opener, your phone charger and a bottle of something nice before you set off for your new property.”

 

5. Make your bed first

Moving day is tiring and getting some rest on your first night in your new home is crucial.

“The first thing to do when you arrive in your new property is build your beds,” says Rob.

“That way, you’ll be able to crash out as soon as you’re ready after what is always a long day.

“When you turn in for the night after such a stressful day, you'll be glad you did it!”

 

Further reading…