Claire Thompson
August 19, 2022

When is the Best Time to Sell Your House?

When is the best time to list your property for sale. easyStorage takes a sneak peek at the data provided by the biggest sellers and finds that there are variations according to both house type and region.

Storage is often a big bonus when selling a house, either to minimise things in a house to help sell it, or because the house has sold and the owner hasn’t yet found the right property to move to – or because there’s a time lapse in the sales.

But when’s the best time to list a property for sale?  The stats we’ve relied on here are mostly from Rightmove and Zoopla, which are responsible for 43% of successful sales in the UK.

Zoopla suggests that, on average, you can currently expect to receive an offer in around 29 days, or just over four weeks. However, they also note that it will take longer to sell in a cold market, and it can take just over 14 weeks for an offer to be accepted by the seller, and up to six months for completion.

Timing matters. The less time you’re on the market, the better the price you are likely to get, so timing things for sales is an art –the peak times for sales are also when a property will have most competition for the buyers.

Buyers in the market ‘off-season’ have less choice and are therefore more motivated to do a deal - and are potentially ‘less picky’. Solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors are also more available, so things may move quicker once you accept an offer.

And it needs saying that houses are bought and sold almost every single day of the year, including Christmas day, so these data driven comments are a guide, not sacred facts. Sometimes standing out by doing something different can be hugely successful – like, for example, offering a different kind of self storage!

A woman holding a small house and a key

Winter (Approx 21 Dec to 20 March)

Many properties are put onto the market in January. New Year Resolutions to sell or change lifestyle, create a surge of people looking.

However, January is one of the worst months to list a house to sell. According to Rightmove, in January it takes an average of 76 days to find a buyer. However, lots of sellers come to market in early January after the December lull. Buyers DO start researching properties in January.  Interest in properties rises. It may simply take longer for buyers to commit. Buying action doesn’t really pick up until the middle of February.

The early January ‘new to market’ properties can start to look stale by February (when the real buying begins), but one- and two- bed flats and terraced properties, ideal for first time buyers and young couples, sell well in both January and February. This cohort are known to start home hunting in earnest straight after the New Year.

The reasons? According to various sources, December is the most popular time for proposals, with 40% of all proposals taking place between then and 14 February. Others, more cynical, suggest that one more Christmas spent at home will be one too many! Estate agent applicant registers start to fill in January.

Sellers should avoid listing for listing their three- or four-bedroom, second time around, family homes during the school Christmas holiday (approximately 19th Dec– 7th Jan) The children are on holiday, distracting parents from buying.

For most properties, it may be better to hold off and become a ‘fresh to market’ property later, featuring online at the (more visible) top of the list when buyers sort their online search by “Newest Listed”.

March, it seems, is the best month on average to sell a house quickly. But in the North West, where it takes an average of 69 days for a house to sell, houses listed in January sell the fastest.

Spring to early Summer (Approx 21 March to 21 June)

According to Rightmove, Spring to early Summer has traditionally been considered the best time to put a house on the market. After the Easter Bank holiday, the house sales market picks up and stays buoyant until the start of Summer (the school holidays).

Compare My Move data agrees that Summer is the most popular season for buyers to move house. Given that the average time to find a buyer is around 67 days, the best time to list your home for sale should be the Spring.

With the better weather buyers are more willing to house hunt, and properties look their best - gardens are in bloom, there’s plenty of good light and weather is mild.

It is also, apparently, an excellent time of year to buy because there are so many properties on the market – there’s more choice AND sales at this time of year go through quicker: everyone is keen to complete before the summer.

Owners of three/four bedrooms homes, aimed at second time buyers (plus) with children would, however, do well to avoid listing properties during the Easter Holidays (roughly April 1-13), and during May half term (roughly 28 May -June 3), if they want a quick sale.  

Of course, lots of listings means that this time of year is also when you can expect to be up against the greatest number of competing sellers. (That competition, however, can mean the higher prices than for homes listed in the colder months, so it’s ‘swings and roundabouts’.)

There are regional differences, of course, and in Scotland, where on average it takes just 47 days on average for houses to sell, houses listed in in May sell fastest.

Older man hanging over house keys to younger man after selling house

Summer (Approx 22 June to 22 Sept)

Summer is a mixed bag. People go away on holiday, peaking around August, when the market overall dies. August and December are generally the worst months to sell a house quickly. In general, however, after the spring, September is the second best time, generally, for sellers to list their properties to sell quickly.

Consequently, if a property’s not listed on the market by the start of July, it may be at a disadvantage. Listing a property at this time of year may mean it finds itself up against properties that failed to sell in Spring - many because they were overpriced. House sellers start to knock money off their asking price. Properties need to look competitive to persuade buyers through the door.

In particular, three/four bedrooms homes, those aimed at second time buyers (plus) with children, should avoid the school summer holidays – high summer - for listing.

However, by contrast, however, bungalows and retirement homes, which appeal to older, perhaps retired, down-sizers, sell faster when listed during the warmer months of June to September.

And also confounding statistics, in the East Midlands (where properties take an average of 65 days to sell) and in Wales (where they take generally an average of 71 days to sell), properties listed in July sell faster than any other month!

And in the South-East, Greater London, East of England and the South West, August also absolutely flies in the face of averages by being the time when properties sell fastest.

Autumn (Approx 23 Sept to 20 Dec)

Autumn has always been considered a good time to sell a house - house buyers are motivated. People looking for one-and two- bedroomed flats and terraced properties – first time buyers and young couples - are back in the market after the Summer holidays in the hope of being in their new home for Christmas.

And whilst there are slightly less buyers around than in the Spring, those that are around are ‘serious’.

A warning though: after October, buyers seem to go into hibernation.

Listing over Autumn half term (approx. 19th October – 31th October) should be avoided for those three/four bedrooms homes, aimed at second time buyers (plus) with children. And according to Rightmove, October 14-November 14 are the slowest time to sell, with properties listed at this time averaging 79 days to sell.

There are exceptions, of course. In the North East (where houses take an average of 81 days to sell), in Yorkshire and Humber (with houses taking an average of 67 days to sell), and in the West Midlands (where properties generally take an average of 62 days to sell), October listed properties sell fastest.

December (along with August) is possibly the worst month to sell a house quickly. Mid-November through to December is generally slow for house sales - nobody wants to move over Christmas.

Many sellers therefore hold off listing until the new year. Buyers drop off significantly in the run-up to Christmas according to Rightmove with Compare My Move also suggesting that November and December are the most unpopular months to move house.

It often, therefore, makes sense for sellers to hold off coming to market and listing before Boxing Day unless they absolutely have to.

No surprises then that November comes out on top as the worst time to come to market, with the market not beginning to pick back up until January and not genuinely warming back up sales-wise until February.

Couple packing boxes to move into a new house

Which day is best to list your property?

In 2017, consumer group Which? looked at thousands of properties. Properties first listed on a Monday took on average 176 days to sell (from being first marketed to legal completion). Properties launched on a Sunday, the worst day, took on an average 213 days to sell.

The peak time for people searching Rightmove is Tuesdays at 9pm, whilst Zoopla data suggests that best time to list your house for sale is a Wednesday after 9pm gets most response. 

Surprisingly, Friday and Saturday are the least good days to list your house for sale.

Help for buyers and sellers

Whenever you choose to list your property for sale, easyStorage is here for all of your storage needs from storing to declutter and make a house more saleable, to time lags between selling and purchasing, and more.

Useful resources:

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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