When is the best time of year to sell your house?

When it comes to selling your house, you’ll want to get the best price in the shortest timeframe. But the changing seasons can play a big part in a securing a sale.

So when is the best time of year to put your house on the market?

When it comes to selling your house, you’ll want to get the best price in the shortest timeframe. But the changing seasons can play a big part in a securing a sale.

So when is the best time of year to put your house on the market?

Mark Gordon
From the Mortgages team
6
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 8 MARCH 2021

Top tip

Whatever time of year you plan to sell your house, presentation is crucial. You should ensure that your property is in tip-top condition to have best chance of getting a quicker sale at the right price.


Selling your home can be a stressful process, especially if you don’t know the market that well. As a general rule, the best time to sell is when there’s the highest buyer demand. The more buyers out there, the greater chance of you receiving the best offers for your property. Typically, it takes two to three months to buy or sell a home.

Historically, the housing market has peaks and troughs throughout the year. And although you need to factor in your own situation – for example, a change in job or circumstances – understanding the selling cycle could help you get the best price in a shorter timeframe.

Using data from UK property specialist Rightmove, we’ve put together a guide to help you work out the best time to sell your house.

Best and worst times to sell your house: at a glance

  • Best season – spring
  • Worst season – winter
  • Best time to put your house on the market – March (average days to sell = 57)
  • Worst time to put your house on the market – November (average days to sell = 79)
  • Most popular day for agents to list a house – Friday
  • Most popular day for searches - Tuesday

Selling your house: season by season

The time of year can often determine how easy it is to sell your house.

As you’ll see from our season-by-season breakdown, the weather and school and seasonal holidays have a big influence on the most popular times for buyers to house-hunt.

Spring (March – May)

Historically, this is considered the best time to sell, as properties look their best and the market is full of eager buyers. After the long, cold winter, spring is the perfect time to spruce up your property and get it ready for sale.

Gardens are in bloom, days are lighter and the weather is generally milder. The Easter Bank holiday can be a particularly popular time for house-hunting, giving buyers the time to search, weigh up their options and make a decision.

Families, in particular, will want to be moved in and settled before the end of the school year in time for the summer holidays.

What to consider:

  • Being peak season, there will be more sellers on the market
  • You may want to price more competitively to help you stand out against the competition

Summer (June – August)

Summer has traditionally seen a lull in the housing market. This is mainly because families are occupied with school holidays and many people are away on trips, especially in August.

What to consider:

  • If you have to sell during the summer, aim to get your house on the market by July at the latest
  • Rival sellers are likely to knock down their price for a quicker sale if their property has been on the market for a while
  • Price your house carefully at this time of year, as you could be up against stale properties that have failed to sell in the spring

Autumn (September – November)

With summer gone and the start of the new school year in mind, many buyers will once again gear up to start looking. Autumn is a popular time for buyers who want to be in and settled before Christmas.

Although there may be fewer house hunters compared to spring, the ones that are out there tend to be ‘serious’ buyers.

What to consider:

  • Don’t leave it too late to put your house on the market – most buyers don’t want to be house-hunting over Christmas and interest tends to dry up after October
  • According to Rightmove, November is one of the worst times to put your house on the market

Winter (December – February)

Think Christmas shopping, the festive season, cold weather, darker days and bare-looking gardens – it’s unsurprising that winter isn’t a great time to sell.

In fact, online searches drop dramatically in the run-up to Christmas.

What to consider:

  • Unless you have no choice, try to avoid putting your house on the market in the run-up to Christmas
  • Sit tight if you can until the first half of February, which is when buyers start to come out of hibernation. You can then launch as a ‘newest’ listing ready for the new season

The best time to sell by property type

The best time of year to sell your house can also be influenced by the type of property you have, and your target buyers:

One and two-bed flats

  • target buyers: first-time buyers and young couples
  • best time to sell: January, February and September

Three and four-bed family homes

  • target buyers: second-steppers and families
  • best time to sell: during school term time – avoid July and August in particular

Bungalows and retirement homes

  • target buyers: older people and retirees looking to downsize
  • best time to sell: June - September

Are homes selling at the moment?

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption to our lives, so you may think that now might not be the best time to sell.

But thanks to the government’s temporary stamp-duty holiday, low interest rates and post-lockdown eagerness, pent-up demand has led to a record boom in property sales since the summer. September 2020 hit new records, with the number of sales in a month up by 70% compared with the previous year.

According to Rightmove’s House Price Index – December 2020, house prices have finished 6.6% up on 2019. The national average asking price is £319,945. For first-time buyers the average asking price is £201,037.

The December figures also reveal that the average time to sell varied from 32 days in Scotland to 59 days in Wales. With the different English regions varying from 51 days in Yorks & Humber to 57 days in the North East.

The government’s tax break, available until 31 March 2021, has raised the stamp duty payable threshold from £300,000 to £500,000.  This has resulted in an influx of eager buyers looking to save money and move home before the stamp-duty holiday deadline.

So if you want to move it could be quite timely to sell as movers can save an average of £4,500 on stamp duty. And when you’re moving every penny counts, so squeezing in under the wire could be financially beneficial.

If you’re looking to put your house on the market, read our helpful guide to selling your home for detailed information on the selling process.

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