Using Christmas to Your Advantage

Gartland Property Auctioneer Nathan Ashton. Auction of 3 Loch St, East Geelong by Gartland Property. Picture: Peter Ristevski

Both buyers and sellers can use Christmas to their advantage. It is always an interesting time of the year; some agents switch off and take time away from the market; and there is often the misconception that the market goes into a lull at this time. This cannot be further from the truth, the Christmas & New Year period is often a time of high turnover, and I expect this year to be no different. With the ever-lingering uncertainty of what may happen month to month, I am getting the sense from buyers and sellers in the market that they would like to finalise something this year. Who knows what the new year may bring, with job keeper changes, the end of mortgage holidays, and the potential end of the builders grant; these are all factors that will be addressed in the new year.

There are a number of advantages to the buyer purchasing from now and the start of the new year. The number one standout feature is simply bragging rights at Christmas. The joy of being able to tell family and friends that they have bought a home is a motivating factor that cannot be overlooked. There is the clarity of knowing what the new year will bring, it offers certainty around starting the year off with positivity. This is also the time of year when a lot of family decisions are made; they are upsizing, downsizing, moving laterally within the market, making investment decisions; it can be the only time when every family member may have time off together. The timing can be advantageous for buyers around the approval process of loans. Banks will be looking to finalise applications etc and approve loans before the Christmas break, so you should be the beneficiary of a streamlined approval process.

The number one advantage to the Seller is competition, which should result in a strong price outcome for you. Buyers are extremely active at this time of year for a number of reasons; there are those mentioned earlier around the certainty of having something secured this year; buyers will be looking to purchase and settle so that they are in their new home before the new school year commences; and there are a number of job contracts that start in January/ February in the health, education and government sectors. Given the fact that families are together, big family decisions are made; for instance, parents may decide to go in to care or downsize to lifestyle villages; and preparations are made for kids going off to University. Those making these decisions then look for immediate answers, that is homes for sale, or for someone to sell for them, and this creates an urgency in buyer behaviour to meet timelines, thus creating that surge in competition.

The Christmas & New Year period is a time of year when many take the foot of the peddle, but to be honest, it is a great time to go hard as a buyer or a seller, as there are options for both sides of the equation.