Spring has sprung, which everyone will tell you means that it is the perfect time to buy or sell a house. The phenomenon even has a name: the "spring bounce".
A new survey from estate agency Move with Us reveals that April is considered the best month in the year to sell property by 33 per cent of agents. The second best month to sell property is March, with 25 per cent of the vote, followed by May, with 14 per cent. With spring accounting for 72 per cent of the total vote, it is undoubtedly the most popular time of the year for buying and selling.
Even online, the trend is clear, with Rightmove reporting the highest ever asking price in the UK of £286,133 this month, while March was its busiest ever month, with traffic up 20 per cent year-on-year.
Why is spring such a central part of the housing calendar? We round up six reasons why this year, now is the best time to sell your home:
1. New beginnings
With Christmas out of the way, people are beginning to stock of their lives and move on with their plans for the future: that could be buying a home or selling a home, but either way, activity in the housing market is primed to rise, as everyone aims for new beginnings.
2. Affordability encourages activity
Homes in many markets are extremely affordable at present: in Europe, currency exchange rates with the pound and dollar make now an ideal time for overseas buyers to snap up a holiday home bargain. In the US, Zillow's April research reveals that homebuyers can now break even on a purchase in less than two years in 66 percent of US metro areas, if they buy instead of renting.
In both the UK and US, interest rates are expected to increase in the near future. According to Halifax, there has been an increase in the net proportion of consumers who believe mortgage interest rates will be higher in 12 months time (+41 compared to +35 in February). Nevertheless, only one in eight (12 per cent) cited concerns about interest rate rises as one of the main barriers to being able to buy a property, as consumers seek to get onto the housing ladder before rate rises impact their mortgage repayments.
3. A wide range of mortgage options
Combined with the affordability above, a wide range of mortgage options means that demand from buyers is rising. In the UK, mortgage applications have surged 18 per cent in the past month, thanks to improved affordability, according to Mortgage Advice Bureau. Mortgage products are not only increasingly affordable, but product availability has also improved. The total number of mortgage products surpassed 13,000 for the first time in March since the Index began recording data in 2009, rising 22 per cent year-on-year.
4. Confidence in prices
While good conditions for buyers are good news for sellers, those planning to part with their property also need assurance that they will get a good price. A shortage of supply means that sellers are in a strong position, as evidenced by Rightmove's record high price index. According to Halifax, house prices in the three months to March this year were 8.1 per cent higher than in the same three months in 2014. While this is down on the annual growth of 8.5 per cent in January 2015 and 10.2 per cent in July 2014, a third (33 per cent) of homeowners are expecting the average property price to be higher by up to 5 per cent, while a quarter (25 per cent) anticipate increases of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.
5. Improving employment
Alongside the struggle to raise funds for a deposit (61 per cent), one of the biggest concerns among house hunters is employment, with job security deterring 44 per cent of buyers from purchasing a property. According to the ONS, unemployment in the UK fell by 102,000 to 1.86 million in the three months to the end of January 2015, while the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in February fell by 31,000 to 791,200, its lowest level since 2008. This gradual trend is encouraging improved sentiment among buyers, as well as sellers.
6. It's warm outside
Baby, it's warm outside, which means that on a practical level, spring is a great time to sell a home: not only are gardens looking better and brighter in your photos, and not only are people willing to venture out to view properties, but there are also more daylight hours to fit them all in.
Looking to list your property in spring? Make the most of the season with our steps to help sell your home.
Photo: The Yes Man