Sell in spring for higher prices, winter for faster sale
When you are selling a house, your success often seems to come down to a bit of luck.
The right buyer finds your open home, and - if you're really fortunate - gets into a bit of competitive bidding with another keen purchaser to push up the price.
But when the market is not so hot, that luck can feel harder to find. The latest Real Estate Institute figures show the number of sales in September was down by a quarter, year-on-year.
Market commentators say timing your sale right can help.
Kim Sinclair, of Crockers Research Hub, said data showed a connection between migration flows and house price movements.
New Zealand's net migration has been running at a record rate as more people move here and fewer leave.
This is one of the factors credited with driving strong house price growth over the past five years.
But Sinclair said there was a clear pattern of migration dips between March and May each year, and again in November.
That seemed to correlate with dips in sales prices, too.
Sinclair said it made sense that an influx of new arrivals looking for a home would have an effect on the housing market.
"This suggests that selling property may not be recommended during those periods as demand may be lower and, conversely, these periods could be good times to buy."
Nigel Jeffries, head of Trade Me Property, said winter was the best time of year for sellers who wanted a quick sale.
His site's data showed that between June and August, houses spent less time on the market.
Last year, properties in Wellington and Christchurch sold faster in winter than in any other season, spending an average of 24 and 38 days on the market, respectively.
Jeffries said, in spring and summer, the average sale price would typically climb but the market was also more competitive, with more listings to choose from.
"Spring is definitely the most competitive time to sell your house as the market is typically flooded with stock. Properties can get fewer views in spring and stay on the market longer than other seasons. Auckland alone received 4400 new listings in spring 2016," he said.
"There really is no bad time to sell your house. It comes down to your motivations when you're selling. If you want a little more money then spring or summer are probably best, but for a faster sale in a quieter market then aim for winter or autumn."
But Bindi Norwell, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute, said sellers should not worry about picking the right time.
"The best time to sell your home is when you need to sell your property for a genuine reason. If you try and time the market you are taking a gamble that you can pick the top of the market, if this was easy or reliable we would all be property speculators with no risk of loss, clearly this isn't the case," she said.
"Traditionally people have often chosen to list in springtime when the gardens look good and it's not so wet and the sun is out. The flipside of this, is that there is more competition in the market in the warmer months with a higher number of properties for sale all competing to attract the best buyers.
"However, if you list in winter, you can have the advantage of showing how warm and cosy your property can be and there may well be less property available for buyers to select from - making it easier for you to make your property stand out during the cooler months."
She said October through March tended to be the busiest months.