Is March a buyer’s month? To delay or act, that is the question

I’ve read plenty over the years about the “best time to sell” for homeowners in Australia, and that got me thinking. When’s the best time for buyers? When is the market less competitive on the bidder-front? When are prices likely to be more affordable? And how much does supply of real estate stock play a part? Is there such a thing as a buyer’s month? Turns out there is. And it’s probably now. 

Anecdotally, agents tell me that seasonality is indeed a factor on price outcomes in the property market. Interestingly, they say that amongst other things, school holidays contribute to price fluctuations because parents who are potential buyers finally have some time to look at properties. 

Analytically, I read once that a home buyer in the nation’s most populous market - Sydney - could save over $30,000 just by buying in December rather than July. December sellers, agents tell me, are often eager to get the equity on their sale back particularly if they’ve already purchased their next property. That new-year-lull costs sellers valuable days-on-market with dormant activity, and agents on holidays. So the December deadline typically offers up some negotiating power to the buyer.  

Meanwhile, if you buy in Melbourne in May can save you more than $20,000, that same data suggests. 

Tax time too is another deadline for sellers. Investors in particular may need to offload assets before the end of the financial year, making June a good time for buyers to bid. 

Conversely, while spring allows gardens to enhance a home, and sunshine brings out the best in buyer numbers, competition between bidders is fierce in this period, though stock numbers are at their most buoyant. 

The anecdotes of seasonal-savings are interesting but what is most compelling is the two decades of sales data put together by numbers boffins at three universities in Australia. The figures were calculated using median prices for houses and units by economics professors. They looked predominantly at units, as they’re easier to compare due to the similarity of offerings in the one block. But the findings were a riveting reflection of the seasonality of property purchase prices. 

Autumn is around the corner, and both the data and the agent chat says prices tend to still be strong here because limited stock drives values. It’s not as fierce as Spring, but it’s a market also peppered with school and public holidays allowing buyers the time to peruse homes. So March could be your moment. It’s the first of the autumn months, the lull before families who are now recovering from summer holidays and are into a new school year start thinking about moving house.

This March marks the end of the 2019/2020 Summer, a season that has been good to many participants this time round, and a welcome bounce back from the prior Summer’s market dip. 

Is March the month you’ll be making a move in the market? Talk to me before you do.