Property Market Comment with Steven Sawyer, Sawyers estate agents lettings consultant

I SUSPECT that there are no readers out there who have not seen the unprecedented and seasonally early fall of snow we had at the end of last year.

I think that this caught us all out as it was predicted further north, though weather forecasts are forecasts which are prone to error at times.

This got me thinking about writing an article along the lines of snow, the weather and the winter from a sales/lettings perspective.

Traditionally the winter is a quieter time of year, however agents still sell and rent during this season otherwise we would all pack up shop and head for warmer pastures.

Perhaps that is not a bad idea given the temperatures we have been experiencing!

During the winter months we do find that any vendors we have are serious about selling as those who do not have a real need/desire to sell, typically take their properties off the market late autumn as they have not sold and put them back on in the spring, often with another agent.

Rather a fruitless exercise, as buyers still exist in the winter months and those buyers who are able to proceed will be making a decision from the available stock.

Yes these stock levels are lower, though you only need one property to purchaser.

Some vendors feel that the spring is the best time to sell.

Yes I would agree if you are selling chain free, however, if you are selling and buying on as part of a chain then the time of year is irrelevant.

In winter you sell low, buy low, in the spring to sell high, you buy high.

The equation only works if you sell high in spring and buy low in winter, but you may have to rent for the six month gap which may reduce any possible gains.

When it comes to rentals, whilst seasonally it can be slightly quieter in December, we tend to find that our available stock tends to let, albeit slightly slower meaning that January offering is poor for all those applicants who have decided to get Christmas out of the way before searching.

Our advice would be not to wait till after the New Year as you are suddenly competing with lots of others in the same boat.

This time of year we do notice some viewers are more conscious of properties that are somewhat more rural or located at the tops of the hills as it suddenly hits home that snow restricts mobility, which they perhaps would not have considered had the weather not been so bad.

After all when was the last bad spell, four years ago, so you can argue that the occurrence of such events is rare.

However, when they do happen, the effected parts do seem to grind to a halt.

Schools close, roads become ice rinks, villages between blocked in from snow drifts and for some it becomes an extended holiday!

However, lost work days do cost the economy millions, let alone emotional disappointment from missed special family gatherings or airport departures for planning holidays.

To sum up, whilst we cannot do much to control the weather, the seasons have their place.

Unlike some more harsher climates, we in Gloucestershire are somewhat protected from the elements, so we can’t really complain.

Though looking on the bright side, may I wish you a joyful New Year.