If you're thinking about selling your home this summer, our research suggests buyers are active in December and January and those who delay putting their home on the market may be missing a trick.
Barfoot & Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson believes many vendors may be waiting to take advantage of the summer rush, but those who wait until February or March to list their homes might be consigning themselves to a period of increased competition, as many others list their homes during this time.
"Our research shows a level of buyer interest in December and January, ahead of the traditional February-March peak in sales," he said.
"Those wanting to sell their house in summer may be missing a trick by delaying too long."
"Our digital research shows us people are really looking hard for property in January these days. While March is our biggest sales month by far, there are definite signs buyers are becoming active earlier than that."
300,000+ property searches in January
Our Google Adwords research showed more than 300,000 Google searches using the top property buying search terms were made in January this year - only marginally behind the 304,000 searches made in August, the biggest month in 2016 so far.
"We know buyer interest is high in January yet there are traditionally fewer listings available in December and January," said Mr Thompson.
"We also know from our long experience many buyers prefer to be in their new house by Christmas or by the beginning of the first term of school - yet many vendors wait until February to list.
"We recommend people interested in selling talk to one of our agents. We have more than 1,700 in Auckland and Northland; they are trained to be attuned to the movements and subtleties of the property market and can best advise on vital elements such as timing."
Traditional spring rush 'didn't happen'
Mr Thompson said the traditional spring rush didn't happen this year, attributing it to a combination of tighter mortgage lending restrictions and a perception property was fully priced. High-end sales were unaffected but new listings overall were down by 20 percent compared to September last year, by 6 percent on the average for the previous three months and by 10 per cent compared to August.
"The lower number of new listings will create greater competition among buyers and those who get their home ready for listing in December and January will get ahead of the market," he says.
How to get ready for a summer sale
"The first step to achieving the best possible price for a house is not to undertake those tidy-up jobs you have always meant to get around to before calling in an agent - get in touch with an agent first and ask for an appraisal," said Mr Thompson.
"At that time draw on the agent’s experience. Ask what to invest your time and money in when it comes to presenting your property to its best advantage.
"By having that meeting now, you then have the remaining time before year-end to focus your energies on the most important tasks and be ready to get in ahead of the peak selling season in the new year."
Prices climbing, but at a slower rate
Our latest analysis showed prices are still climbing but at a slower rate, so listing at a time of higher buyer interest but lower listings could be beneficial.
In September, Barfoot & Thompson's average Auckland sales price was $919,849, 1.5 per cent up on August and 2.9 per cent on the previous three months. The median price ($850,000) was the same as August and up 0.8 percent on the previous three months.
"Vendors who might be waiting for the February-March peak shouldn’t wait for too long when they could be getting a good result by tapping into a market short of homes and buyers eager to settle before that peak arrives.
"Talk to one of our agents - they can tell you what improvements will give you the best return on your particular property or even if it needs improvement or home staging or lots of other ways to present the property. They’ll know your area so can give you the best advice on timing," Mr Thompson said.
To find out more about selling in summer, including advice on how to prepare and present your property, read our selling tips.