Christmas is an ideal time to buy
A house for Christmas?
- 11 hours ago December 12, 2013
WANT a house under your Christmas tree? If you are thinking of buying a home, the festive season is the time to make your move.Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is an ideal time to buy, with properties left on the market in the lead up to the festive season and less potential buyers trawling real estate sites.
Agents say end-of-year vendors get to the point where they just want to sell, but realise people are on holidays. The result is they'll flip their house for less.
That's good news for potential home buyers repeatedly outbid by cashed-up investors this year in capital cities where auction clearance rates have clocked record highs.
TV real estate expert Bryce Holdaway says savvy buyers go against the trend and house hunt when the others aren't looking - that's this month and January.
"As the buyer, you generally hold all the cards at this time," says Mr Holdaway, host of Location Location Location.
"Once December rolls around, the competition is thinking more about Christmas approaching than they are about embarking on a major decision like a property purchase. And this is where you can take advantage.
"Buyers tend to get reluctant to buy close to Christmas ... they'll deal with it, along with the other new year resolutions, next year. Understandably, the vendor can become quite desperate to secure a deal."
Even in Sydney where auction clearance rates have nudged 90 per cent this year, there will be bargains in the next few weeks.
Properties are going to auction right up until the weekend before Christmas, when the crowds of competitive buyers are sure to diminish.
"People are keen to sell before the New Year and capitalise on the active market that we're currently in,'' Roger Agha, principal of Devine Real Estate said.
What's more, a recent investor sell-off in some prime Sydney suburbs could spook vendors into quick sales, with fears of the market slowing in 2014 making them more open to negotiations in the coming weeks.
It can be more difficult to sell in January with professionals required to finalise contracts often on holidays, further motivating vendors.
January also is generally a slow month for builders and contractors. With most people on holidays and factories closed for the break, this makes it a good time to negotiate fees on new homes.
Xmas cheer for buyers
Less people looking equals less competition, which means greater flexibility in negotiations and a better chance at securing a bargain.
Another great outcome of buying at this time of year is that settlement will often be in January or February - peak rental time.
Holidays will potentially increase condition and settlement times and the longer you control a property in a rising market without actually owning it the better.
A top time to sell?
On the flipside, real estate expert Andrew Winter says the festive season can also be the optimum time to sell.
"Demand however, can vary from area to area. Inner city and urban areas may close down as residents disappear to the coast," Mr Winter says.
"Coastal areas, the country, even the outer burbs can shine during this festive season as numbers swell with visitors who can be tempted by the dream of a lifestyle change.
Mr Winter, host of Selling Houses Australia, advises vendors to consider their situation carefully at this time of year.
"Just adding days to your listing time is pointless and can have a negative impact on buyer's perception of your home if the area shuts down.
"There's also school holiday syndrome to consider if with time off, the kids want to turn the living room into a massive sleep out zone.
"Plus the detritus of Christmas wrapping ensuring your home looks like Myer at the end of the first day of the sales."
Xmas cheer for vendors
Buyers looking for properties during the holidays are usually serious about purchasing and this could lead to a quick sale.
Most buyers want to be able to move in before a new year begins.
If you're in an area that has an increased holiday population, competition between buyers may increase, this could lead to offers that are higher than your original asking price.