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Thinking ahead: If you want to move by next summer, when do you need to sell?

Next summer might seem like a long time away.

But if you’re aiming to be in your new home in time to enjoy those warm, light evenings and you have a property to sell, now is the time to start thinking seriously about that move – and even putting your current property on the market.

Traditionally, the late autumn and early winter months can see a slight slowdown in the UK property market.

But 2020 hasn’t been a normal year. Here’s a picture of the current market from Rightmove:

  • The price of property coming to market rose 1.1% between September and October 2020
  • Prices in the UK are now 5.5% higher than they were a year ago, with Rightmove forecasting a 7% rise by December
  • Properties are selling quicker than ever before, with an average of 50 days to sell
  • The number of active buyers is 66% higher than a year ago

All of which means if you’re looking to sell so you can get into a new home well before summer, now could be the time to capitalise on that growth and demand from buyers.

How long does it take to sell a house?

The current average time between putting your home on the market and receiving an acceptable offer is 50 days.

That’s 12 days faster than at the same time in 2019 and 38 days faster than when the property market reopened after the coronavirus lockdown in May.

What month is the best time to sell a house?

Traditionally, the best time to sell your property is the spring.

The UK property market is most active between March and June, because:

  • The evenings are longer
  • Gardens are blooming
  • Buyers are actively looking so they can secure a summer move

But demand for great properties is currently outstripping supply as we move through the autumn and closer to winter.

So, if you have a property to sell, taking the plunge now could see you secure a good price and a chance to be in your new home by the summer and beat the stamp duty holiday deadline.

How long will the stamp duty holiday last?

The current stamp duty exemption threshold of £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland is due to expire on March 31, 2021.

Wales’ updated Land Transaction Tax (LTT) threshold of £250,000 also runs until March 31, 2021, while Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland is set at the same amount until the same date.

It’s currently not known whether there will be a further extension to the stamp duty holiday, so if you’re looking to take advantage of the rates, you should assume that you’ll need to complete your purchase before March 31, 2021.

Things to consider before putting your property on the market

We’ve established that now could be a great time to sell if you want to be in your new home before the summer.

But putting your home on the market always requires plenty of thought and here are some of things you’ll need to consider:

  • How much your property is worth and how much you need to sell it for to make your next move. To get a great idea of your property’s value, try our instant online valuation tool
  • Does your property need any work before you sell it? Take a look at our seller’s checklist
  • If you secure a quick sale, will you buy right away, or will you rent? If you’re considering a new-build home, take a look at these 10 key questions to ask a developer

House prices in 2021

House price predictions for next year vary, as you might expect given the uncertainty around both the coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Zoopla predicts:

  • An annual price rise of between 2% and 3% in 2020 as a whole
  • Potential price falls ‘at the lower end’ of the Office of Budgetary Responsibility’s 3%-16% prediction in the second half of 2021

The Centre for Economics and Business Research, meanwhile, predicts that prices will rise again in the third quarter of 2021, while banking group Lloyds says prices will rise by 2% in 2021 and 2.5% in 2022.

Further reading…

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to get on the property ladder in 2021, take a look at these 10 tips to becoming a homeowner next year.

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