When time is right, sell
SPRING and autumn might be the traditional selling seasons in Melbourne’s real estate market, but experts say there are other times to tip the balance in sellers’ favour.
The laws of supply and demand that dictate the price of goods in modern economics also apply to real estate. But in most cases, the only real impact sellers can make on that equation is when they put their house up for sale.
Wakelin Property Advisory director Richard Wakelin said while sellers needed to weigh up the estimate of value, marketing and presentation, choice of agent and method of sale, the timing of a sale was perhaps the most important factor in driving the highest selling price.
Selecting the right time, when there were fewer properties on the market, would give them the best chance of creating heated competition for their home, coaxing buyers to offer a higher price, he said.
“The plan wherever possible, is to sell when supply levels are at their lowest and to buy when the supply levels are high,” Mr Wakelin said.
CoreLogic RP Data’s tracking of Melbourne supply for the past 12 months shows the volume of properties for sale peaked in late November, when about 32,500 properties were on the market. But listings also peaked in late autumn, while the troughs were in January and during winter.
Senior researcher Cameron Kusher said the number of new listings in February was quite a bit higher than the same time last year. “Over the past 28 days there’s been 8574 new property listings and that’s actually 9.8 per cent higher than at the same time last year,” he said.
However, he said the number of new listings was still lower than the spring selling season late last year when they climbed to 10,500 in midNovember.
Melbourne’s overall listings were lower compared to the same time last year, with 28,084 on the market, a decrease of 0.4 per cent.
But auction clearance rates show there are plenty of buyers in the market.
Mr Wakelin said the surge in listings coincided with a dropoff in market performance, particularly in auction clearance rates. He said many potential sellers wanted to wait and see how the market was performing before committing, leading to a late-season glut of properties on the market.
For buyers mulling over heading to auction, Mr Wakelin suggested early May.
“It may mean their property is (initially) listed on the weekend when there is an Anzac public holiday but you won’t be competing with the comparatively large supply of late May,” he said.
Harcourts, Thomastown, Epping and South Morang director Tony Lombardi said sellers needed to think outside the box to tip the scales in their favour.
“Around March to April, just before Easter, is generally a pretty good time,” he said.
“You’re coming a little bit out of summer, but it’s a little bit wet so the garden is still looking quite good. And you’re capitalising on a pretty exciting time in terms of demand because quite a lot of buyers have a new lease on life in the new year and want to try to buy a new place.”
Mr Lombardi said a property’s key selling features could dictate the best time to sell. “A property on the beach that’s got an amazing view, it would be a no-brainer that spring or summer would be good,” he said.
“But a property that’s got a large fireplace and it might have some raw brick or some really nice reclaimed timber throughout, you would look at going sometime in the middle of winter.”