As a homeowner or an investor looking to make capital gains from their purchaser, one of the most challenging factors in your involvement with the property market can be pinpointing the best time to sell a property to maximise income. After all, everyone wants to make sure they're getting the best profits possible, regardless of the reason for selling.
Typically, this time of the year is not the best for selling. Throughout the first quarter of any year, the British property market is normally going through one of its down periods. In the months following the festive period, people are happier to stay within their routines, and the cold weather has an impact on the market too, with fewer people wanting to get out to look for a home when it's chilly.
Naturally, this means that January, February and March can be a rather dark period for sellers. With fewer buyers around and prices not really increasing at all, it's generally accepted as being one of the worst times to sell. Most people would advise you to wait until spring, when buyers follow the sun out of hiding and the potential for maximum prices starts to be realised.
But is 2015 acting differently, and is now actually the right time to sell? The UK market is predictable in most years, but for this year, we seem to be seeing something of an anomaly, with prices increasing early in the year when they normally fall or stay at a level.
According to the latest data from Halifax, the price of purchasing a home in the UK has risen by an average of two per cent so far this year in comparison to the end of last year. It was the biggest rise seen in January for six years. This is even more impressive when we realise that the last time prices rose faster than this in January it was because the market was taking its first tentative steps towards recovery from the disaster that struck in 2008.
And it's not just January in which the market has seen a real upturn. According to the report from Halifax, it has been going on for the past quarter. Between November and December, the price of homes was 1.9 per cent more than it was in the three months prior. When we consider that October is normally the peak for property prices in any year in the UK, it shows just how different the current property sector is behaving.
So what's the reason for this recovery? For one thing, there are far more buyers around than there were in the summer. According to the Halifax's housing economist Martin Ellis, this could be a factor.
"This bounce-back in house price growth in January coincides with reports of the first rise in mortgage approvals for six months in December. These improvements may indicate that the recent declines in mortgage rates, the reform of stamp duty and the first increases in real earnings for several years are providing a modest boost to the market," he said.
What this means for sellers is that there are far more buyers with money to spend at this point in 2015 than there typically are in the first quarter of any year. This has given the market a real boost, because the level of demand is unprecedented, and it pushes the price that sellers can get for their home ever higher.
So is now the right time to sell? We think so. For anyone who brings their home to market at the moment, there are enough buyers around that you should not have to wait too long to make a sale, and when you do, you're likely to be able to get a better price than you could ever reasonably expect to in the first three months of any year.