When is the best time to buy a house? Experts reveal best times of the year

We tackle some of the most important questions to find out if now is a good time for a house investment
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  • If you’re thinking about buying a house, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are different times of the year that lend themselves to a property purchase better than others.

    For example, a market brimming with properties for sale is the best time for buying a house as a purchaser, as you’re more likely to be able to get a deal. Whereas if there’s little available, you could end up paying over the asking price in a bid to beat other buyers also struggling to find a property.

    Interestingly, the UK property market bucked its usual trend of summer being a quiet month this year. Pent-up demand for moves post lockdown, as well as the rush for buyers to secure their purchase before the end of the stamp duty holiday fuelled the property market, resulting in over 200,000 house sales in June 2021 according to HMRC.

    When is the best time to buy a house?

    Read on, to find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked homebuyer questions to work out whether 2022 is the right time for you to take a leap onto the property ladder…

    Image credit:Future/ Douglas Gibb

    Buying property is a huge investment, from deposits to solicitor fees for buying a house. It’s not a decision to ever take lightly. With the stamp duty holiday now over, and life getting back to some sort of normality as we come out of lockdown, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the property market going forward.

    What time of year is it best to buy a house?

    Traditionally, spring and early autumn tend to be a popular time to buy, with summer and winter being quieter. ‘There is typically more housing stock available in spring. Sales often go through quicker as people tend to be keen to complete before the summer,’ says Heather Owen, Financial Planning Expert at Quilter.

    ‘In contrast, the number of homes available later in the year tend to drop as homeowners opt to stay put for the winter,’ says Heather. ‘As there are typically business closures around the Christmas period, house sales can also take much longer to process.’

    What is the best time of year to sell a house?

    Interestingly, although spring and early autumn are the best time to buy a house, winter and summer tend to be the best times to sell a house – as there’s less competition on the market.

    ‘With fewer properties available in summer and winter, your house will have less competition and stand out more,’ says Natalie Carter, Director at Kai Carter Estates.

    ‘March often sees an increase in the number of homes up for sale. So if you are looking to buy a house then it is likely you will have far more to choose from as there are lots of people looking to move home in the spring,’ says Heather.

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    Image credit: Future/ Brent Darby

    What time of year are houses the cheapest?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t really a certain time of the year when you can get a bargain. It’s more about the seller’s circumstances. ‘If someone needs to sell quickly for financial reasons – relocation or perhaps a separation – they may be more inclined to take an offer, says Natalie. ‘Being a cash buyer and/or with no chain will increase your appeal as a buyer, as the sale can move quickly, sometimes in as little as 30 days.’

    Natalie also recommends looking at new developments where the homes are all finished, but not yet all sold. ‘Once houses are built, developers want to capitalise on their investment to fund their next project. If a few houses remain unsold they may be prepared to take an offer,’ she says.

     Is 2022 a good year to buy a house?

    There is a general consensus among the property industry that 2022 will be the year where buyers will get a fair price. ‘Sales being agreed has increased, but the number of sales achieving over the asking price has reduced, meaning we may start to see an end to the bidding wars that have been so prevalent,’ says Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive at Propertymark.

    Nima Ghasri, Director at regulated property buyers GoodMove, agrees: ‘Demand remains strong and there is currently a shortage of properties to meet demand. So prices are holding steady and I believe they will continue to do so in 2022,’ says Nima. Meaning 2022 is looking promising start a moving house checklist to make a smart home change over.

    When is the best time to buy for first-time buyers?

    ‘Latest OBR forecasts suggest an imminent base interest rate hike from the Bank of England, which will ultimately lead to higher mortgage costs over the next year,’ says Vadim Toader, CEO of Proportunity.

    ‘At the same time, real estate is usually considered a solid hedge against inflation, which will drive property prices even higher and contribute to mortgage costs going up. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a double whammy impact on homebuyers’ affordability,’ he says.

    If you’re in a position to do so, Vadim advises aspiring homebuyers to jump on the property ladder sooner rather than later, in order to benefit from the lowest historic interest rates currently available. ‘To unblock these advantageous rates, buyers will need around a 20 per cent deposit,’ says Vadim.

    If you don’t have cash savings to hand, check out the government’s shared ownership and Help to Buy: Equity Loan schemes, offering first-time buyers with the financial aid that they need to afford a property.

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    Image credit: Future/ Olly Gordon

    What age is the best time to buy a new home?

    According to comparethemarket.com, the average age of a first-time buyer in 2020 was 34.5 in London, and 32.2 in the rest of England. The comparison website predicts the age threshold will rise over the next ten years, reaching 37 in London and 34.7 in the rest of England in 2031, crediting house prices as the cause for the rise.

    ‘There’s no hard and fast rule. I think you want to be young enough that you can have a mortgage term and payments that are affordable for you, as the older you get, the shorter your term and therefore the higher your payments,’ says Nicola Schutrups, Managing Director at The Mortgage Hut.

    ‘However, you need to be of an age where you have a credit history, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a mortgage at 18, for instance.’

    There used to be an age threshold that cut off at 55, but lenders realise people are living longer. ‘We’re seeing lenders who will approve a mortgage for people up to the age of 80, with repayments until they reach 100,’ says Nicola. ‘To a lender, someone with a pension is seen as more reliable because you can’t be made redundant from your pension.’

    Is the best time to buy a house during a recession?

    A recession is generally considered a bad time to buy a home, as wages are lower and more people find themselves out of a job. However, there are pros to buying in a recession. The biggest being that house prices tend to drop, and therefore you might get more for your money.

    ‘Ultimately, if you look at any five-year period, house prices have gone up and property is a great long-term investment. So buying during a recession is a good idea, provided you can get a good deal,’ says Nicola.

    How has Covid 19 affected home-buying patterns?

    Since the pandemic, there’s been a shift in homebuyer’s priorities. A private garden, space for a home office and access to open green space are now becoming much more important. ‘The home has become far more than just the four walls that surround it.

    ‘With 2020 behind us, a year when we’ve all spent most of our lives inside our homes, where we live has never felt more important,’ says Lisa Crush, Director of Sales and Marketing for Peabody. ‘People’s appreciation of the space they inhabit, their immediate surroundings and the lifestyle that can be enjoyed from it, is more significant than ever,’ says Lisa.

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