For years, it has been a fact of life in the UK that there is massive activity in most sectors during the run-up to Christmas – and then a post-Christmas slump while everyone recovers.
In terms of housing sales, the Christmas lull has traditionally extended well into late winter, with the market only really shaking off its slumbers when spring rolls around. The internet, however, is changing this, and Manchester estate agent Indlu predicts that the Christmas period could bring some good news for sellers and buyers alike.
Online portals challenge conventional wisdom
According to conventional wisdom, during the festive period, the housing market slows to a crawl if not an actual standstill as sellers and buyers alike concentrate on eating, drinking and making merry rather than the serious business of property sales.
According to statistics from Rightmove, however, buyers are very active over the festive period, which is, of course, great news for motivated sellers, but does beg the question of what has changed. This isn’t clear, but one possible, and very feasible, explanation, is that in the days before the internet, people relied heavily on analogue marketing put out by estate agents in order to find out about properties for sale and also relied on estate agents being available to conduct viewings.
This meant that if estate agencies, like many offices, closed down over Christmas, all the activities connected with them came to a stop until they reopened. This discouraged buyers and sellers alike from getting seriously active around the Christmas period, which, in turn, helped to convince estate agents that the festive period was just a standard low period and that lack of activity was just par for the course. This then became conventional wisdom, until the internet challenged it.
Sellers should treat the Christmas period as seriously as spring and autumn
Now that we are well and truly in the digital age, sellers need to shake off any lingering fears about listing their home “too early” and not getting buyer interest. The fact of the matter is that, generally speaking, modern buyers are only too aware of the fact that reasonably-priced properties will usually move quickly at any time of year and hence the onus is on them to stay alert to what comes on the market and be ready to take action as soon as they identify a suitable property.
What’s more, sellers are largely relieved of the frustration of having to prepare a house for viewing only to discover that the buyer quickly comes to the conclusion that the property is unsuitable for them, because the quantity and quality of information available through the online portals is massively higher than printed adverts were able to convey, which makes it much easier for buyers to work out whether or not a property is likely to be suitable for their needs before they actually see it in the real world.
These days, viewings are generally about giving the potential buyer a more immersive experience of the property, which is a much more productive use of time for everyone concerned.