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How weather affects real estate, and why spring is not the best time to sell your house

By Irena Ceranic, Saturday July 7, 2018 - 12:20 EST
ABC licensed image
Autumn may be when temperatures start to go down, but it's also when house sales go up. - ABC licensed

The real estate market traditionally experiences a lull during winter and picks up in spring when gardens are lush and the sunny weather attracts more buyers to the streets.

But is spring really the best time to sell?

Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) president Hayden Groves said while spring can be a popular time for sellers, it can also mean there is more competition.

"Generally speaking, there's a bit more optimism in the market, you do tend to see a bit of an uptick in sales activity once spring arrives, but it is also at the mercy of broader economic factors," Mr Groves said.

"If you are a would-be seller and it is winter, and you're thinking 'perhaps I'll hold off until spring,' you can damage your prospects of getting a great outcome … because suddenly you're in competition with a lot of other like-minded sellers.

"You have this influx of stock coming to market and if the demand from the buyers doesn't follow then you can actually end up over-supplying your market."

REIWA data paints quite a different picture than the common market perception.

Sales data shows there have in fact been more house sales in Perth in autumn than any other season for the past five years.

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Serious home buyers will brave the rain

Real estate agents report that home opens are usually quieter during rainy or stormy weekends, but Mr Groves said the wintry weather did not deter serious buyers.

"People tend to hibernate indoors but the genuine buyers are still out in force irrespective of the weather conditions," he said.

"But those that are really just entering the market or considering selling and are just looking at comparable stock that's currently on the market to determine the value of their own homes, they tend to stay away when the weather is bad."



Limnios Property Group sales manager Dominic Ferraro agreed that there was less activity during wet and cold months, but said that could be beneficial.

"Winter is a time when there's less competition. It can be rainy or stormy, but if the property is priced well and it's presented well, the buyers will come," Mr Ferraro said.

"The serious buyers will come running to the doors with their umbrellas to see the right property, especially when it's the first time that the property is open."

Both Mr Ferraro and Mr Groves suggest taking advantage of a sunny weekend to hold home opens and auctions if it is an option, but days when major events are held — such as the AFL grand final — should be avoided.

Location, location ... and orientation?

Once you've got your selling date sorted, a home's orientation and the sunlight it receives can be a crucial factor in determining the best time to hold a home open.

Architect Damien Maxwell said most houses in Australia would benefit from their main living spaces and windows facing north, because in summer the sun passes directly overhead, while in winter those spaces capture as much light and warmth as possible due to the low angle of the sun.

"If you're having a home open and your house does face west or east, you probably want to try to avoid any of those extreme sunlight times which could put buyers off," he said.

"So if your house faces west you probably don't want to open up in the afternoon because the space is going to be glary and uncomfortable.



"It is quite common in WA, because the coast is in the west, there are a lot of houses that face that direction. And you probably notice as you drive along West Coast Highway that all the blinds are closed in the afternoon, so you probably want to avoid that for a home open.

"If your house faces east, you're going to get a lot of direct sun in the morning but people don't tend to be put off by morning sun because the temperatures aren't as hot and it creates a brighter atmosphere."

Mr Maxwell said people who choose to build should give serious consideration to orientation because the right positioning can not only impact the feel of a home, it can also lower energy bills by minimising the need to turn on the heating, air-conditioning and lights during the day.

No one rule for all houses

Mr Groves's advice to sellers is to consider which features of their home are most appealing, when choosing the time of year to put it on the market.



"The older-style properties in the established Perth suburbs that have got north-facing orientation, fire places, those sorts of things, they can be really lovely and cosy during those winter days and you can showcase a home really well in that regard," he said.

"And similarly if you were selling in summer, properties that have pools always sell a lot better when the summer months are on.

"As the owner of a property ,when you're thinking about selling it, try to think about the seasons that you enjoy living most in the home."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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