By Carol Tallon, Originally published in The Sunday Independent 30th November 2016

tree WITH the Christmas season just around the corner, I asked a number of estate agents around the country whether sellers have left it too late to bring their house to the market now and, if so, should they hold tight and wait it out until the New Year?

Speaking about his local market in Carlow and Kilkenny, Warren McCreery of www.WarrenMccreery.ie advises: “In a normal functioning property market there are usually optimal seasonal periods throughout the year in which to sell a property. Spring-Summer is ideal with the long summer evenings an abundance of willing buyers. Outside these periods as we head towards the latter end of the year, evenings are dark and many people focus their thoughts on the impending festivities of Christmas. However, in the past few recession years many investors and first time buyers see this part of the year an ample time when property can be picked up without too much competition. It should also be noted that lending institutions divide the year in to four quarters. Quarters three and four are the most active where the majority of lending is done. Therefore, it may be more prudent to sell your home pre-Christmas rather than wait for the month of January.”

Similarly in Dublin, Jane Young of www.Youngs.ie said “Funnily enough the last week before Christmas can be quite busy with viewing requests from ex-pats living abroad. Ex pats who have been toying with the idea of buying either an investment property or city pad for return visits are eager to see what the market has to offer while they are home for Christmas.” She had these words of advice for Vendors pre-Christmas: “Be flexible with viewing right up until the end of December. The window to view properties during the Christmas season is less. Therefore if you don’t accommodate viewings you don’t have offers coming in on properties.” She had this to say to seasonal house-hunters “This can be a great time to make a move on a property that you’ve been watching and viewing over the preceding weeks. Most people tend to park their purchasing plans with the run up to Christmas but I feel cash and loan approved purchasers are in a very strong position if they put in sensible offers on residential or commercial properties pre Christmas. More often than not you end up in situation where (i) you’re not competing with anyone else on offers, and (ii) vendors who have had their property on the market for some time get anxious as the year grows to a close and want to wrap things up and move on with New Year plans.

Meanwhile in Wexford, Michael Kinsella of www.KinsellaEstates.ie went through some of the advantages of selling at this time of the year; “Certainly there are fewer new properties coming to the market at this time of year but means less competition for eager sellers. In my experience, buyers who are active in the run up to Christmas are serious and ready to buy so while the number of viewings might be down, the quality is definitely up!”

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A surprising peak time for internet property portals

For any prospective sellers, and perhaps even estate agents, unconvinced by the information above, the release of Christmas season internet traffic data from UK portal RightMove.co.uk might change your minds. Last Christmas Day alone – while the rest of us were lounging in front of the fire with the customary tub of Cadbury’s Roses – the property sales website attracted more than half a million visits. This figure jumped to a massive 1.3 million visitors on Boxing Day, or St. Stephen’s Day, rising to more than 1.4 million hits on New Year’s Day. By the end of the New Year period, before people returned to work, daily hits to the website were in excess of 2.2 million!

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