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Best Time of Year to Move House in the UK

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Best Time of Year to Move House in the UK
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When you decide to move into a new house, you want to get the timing spot on. Your personal circumstances, market conditions, and the time of year that you make the sale need to be taken into account.

It may surprise you to know that the property market is far more active during some periods of the year than others. This is usually related to what is happening at the time—for example, the Christmas period, summer holidays, or Easter.

So, if you want to move house in the UK, when will you get the best deal? Keep reading our blog below to learn more.

When is the property market most active?

According to Rightmove, the UK’s housing market is most active during Spring. This rise in activity usually begins in the New Year and slowly increases throughout the following few months. House sellers usually aim to complete the deal before the end of the summer, so the start of the new school year (if they have children) begins once they are already in their new home.

Autumn tends to be a relatively active time to sell, too, as people start to list their properties on the market after returning from their Summer holidays. Many houses go on the market in September, with the owners hoping to complete everything before Christmas.

Is Spring the best season to move house?

Spring is a convenient time to move house because it is away from the busyness that often surrounds the summer and Christmas holidays. 

For example, many viewings will take place during the Easter holidays because both adults in the family may have time off work and will, therefore, have the free time to check out their options and make a decision.

Some estate agents argue that properties look more attractive in Spring because more sunlight and flowers grow around the exterior of the property.

What is the ‘January Rush’?

Once the new year begins, there is usually a rush of people listing their properties for sale. However, these people often wanted to wait until after Christmas to do this, as they were simply too busy with the festive celebrations.

Estate agents report a massive increase in enquiries – from both buyers and sellers – in the first two weeks of January. When the housing market picks up again in this way, it is sometimes known as the ‘January Rush’. 

When is the housing market quiet?

The housing market is usually quiet during the summer and Christmas holidays. With young children home from school during these periods and families sometimes out of the country for one reason or another, it can become extremely difficult to complete a property transaction. 

Usually, when selling a house, families will aim to get the deal completed before the new school year or before the schools break up for Christmas. This contributes to Spring and Autumn being the busier periods.

Should I pay attention to the housing market and interest rates?

It is always a good idea to pay attention to the housing market and interest rates. These are two factors that have an enormous impact on activity in the market, too, on top of the time of year.

Interest rates impact the affordability of a mortgage. When rates are high, for example, mortgages become more expensive, and it is more advantageous to hold on to your money and keep earning interest on it. For that reason, activity in the market tends to decrease.

Similarly, for all the existing homeowners on a variable mortgage, their prices will go up when interest rates rise – which means that downsizing often becomes more common. 

By contrast, if interest rates go down, this usually means that mortgages become less expensive, and there is less advantage to keeping money in a savings account. For these reasons, market activity may increase. 

What day is the most popular to move house?

Data from Reallymoving removals found that Friday is by far the most popular day to move house on. This is presumably because families will then have the entire weekend to settle in, unpack boxes, decide what goes in which room, and so on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Saturday was ranked as the second most popular day to move.

Do removal company prices change depending on the time of year?

According to Pickfords, prices will usually go up in the lead-up to Christmas, as there is a major rush to complete all the moves before the holiday season. This indicates that an increase in moving costs may reflect the ‘busier’ periods in the housing market.

Removal companies tend to charge more on the weekends, too, as there are more people looking to use their services during this time. Therefore, arranging the move on a weekday may be a smart idea if you want to keep your costs down. You will need to book time off work to make this possible, though. Also, think about your kids (if applicable) if they are currently in the middle of a school term.

Personal factors to consider when moving house

When moving house, it seems logical to follow the housing market, interest rates, and time of year when deciding when to move house, personal factors need to be considered, too.

Firstly, if you have children, then this will significantly impact your choice. For example, carrying out a move while they are in the middle of the school term will be extremely difficult, so it makes more sense to time it with one of their holidays – i.e. Easter, summer or Christmas.

If you live with a partner, finding a time that you can both be away from work is equally important. National bank holidays often fall over Christmas and Easter, so it is common for families to move during these times. However, you may be able to coordinate booking your days off simultaneously, so you can get cheaper rates from removal companies (by doing it at a ‘less busy time’).

If you do not have a family, there may be something happening in your personal life that is prompting the change. For example, if you are going through a divorce or have been relocated from your workplace, this may force you to rush the move quickly. 

Other instances may also cause you to move quickly, such as being closer to an unwell family member or paying off any debt using the cash from your house sale. If you are trying to sell a house that has been inherited and which you do not really want to own, then this could cause you to carry things out as fast as possible.

Alternatively, you may have major personal events coming up that you want to complete a house deal before. Examples include a wedding, a new job, a baby’s birth, or other huge milestones. 

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