Is this the best time to bag a property bargain?

Sarah Coles
House prices
House prices

A new study has shown that this could be the best time of year to bag a property bargain. Apparently properties that are listed at the end of the year and sold at the beginning of the following year are likely to sell at the biggest discounts. You could slice an average of £69,000 off the price by buying a property at this time of year compared to August.

The research, by My Home Move, looked at properties that were put up for sale between 2013 and 2015, to identify the best and worst months to buy and sell. They discovered that the worst time of all to list your property is early winter - because properties listed in October, November and December fetched the worst prices.

These are the properties you will be looking round at the moment, so if you start your search today you could bag a bargain.

By contrast, those that sold at the biggest premium were the ones listed in May, and sold in August. It means if you're trying to shift a property, it's worth sprucing it up now, ready to hit the market in May.
The best times to sell

List in May (sell in August) 38%
List in September (sell in December) 17%
List in August (sell in November) 17%
List in March (sell in June) 8%
List in June (sell in September) 8%
List in February (sell in May) 4%
List in July (sell in October) 4%
List in April (sell in July) 4%

The best times to buy

March 29%
January 25%
February 25%
May 8%
April 4%
November 4%

Can you get a competitive mortgage?

Not so simple

All this would seem to show that buyers need to get their skates on, while sellers might be better off waiting for the spring.

Of course, when it comes to buying and selling property, nothing is ever quite this straightforward. The obvious issue is that most people who are selling will also need to buy, and unfortunately there's no great time to both buy and sell.

The closest the statistics get are to list in March, and put an offer in during March. Then you just have to hope the person you are buying from doesn't get fed up waiting until May for you to sell.

Alternatively, if you think you can play the system to get enough of a bargain, you can opt to rent for six months in order to profit from the best times to buy and sell.

But when you start trying to beat the property market, there's always a huge amount of uncertainty that can pull the rug from under your feet. The research broke down how property prices fluctuated from month-to-month in each of the regions, and found some strikingly dramatic changes.

The widest variations occurred in the North West, where the average price rose by 38% between January and June 2015. Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, said: "As we know, the 2015 property market was dominated by the issues of supply and demand, and while this has largely worked in the seller's favour, it has also resulted in some regions experiencing a feast or famine scenario in terms of sale prices. Wales, the North West and Greater London have all seen prices roller-coaster over the year; and presently there is little to suggest 2016 is going be any different."

So what do you think? It is worth trying to play the property market, or is it a mugs game? Let us know in the comments.

How to Sell Your Home Fast and for More
How to Sell Your Home Fast and for More