A new year, a new move

The early part of the year is often the busiest, as many homebuyers aim to be in their homes for the

The early part of the year is often the busiest, as many homebuyers aim to be in their homes for the summer. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images

Christmas is over, the new year has arrived... are you thinking about buying, selling or both in 2019?

For many potential movers, the inclination might be to wait until the weather starts warming up but those in estate agency believe there are many reasons to start the process sooner rather than later.

Nick Taylor, chairman of the Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents and managing director of Hadley Taylor Estate Agents, advises anyone thinking of selling or buying to get started in January.

'This is because 2019 is as good a time to start as any: we live in uncertain times, but this state of flux isn't anything new – let's face it, we've been living in uncertain times for years,' he says.

'First time buyers needn't hold back – mortgage rates are still at historically low levels and, although we expect rates to rise in 2019, they will still be incredibly low when compared with pre-crash levels.

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'The good news for buyers and sellers is that the property market is very stable at the moment. Property prices in Norfolk have risen by just three percent during the last 12 months and are not likely to rise by more than two percent during the year ahead.

'Demand for good quality family houses is strong so if you have a property to sell, now would seem as good a time as any.'

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Martyn Baum, group residential manager at Arnolds Keys, says January is always a time when the property market is refreshed with new properties listed and a greater selection of buyers looking to secure their new home.

'The number of viewings we conduct and applicants we register increases tremendously throughout January and we expect January 2019 to be no different,' he stresses.

'If you are looking to purchase a property my advice would be to start your search immediately after Christmas. At Arnolds Keys we have a number of properties being launched on Boxing Day – there will be far more for you to choose from in the early months of the year.'

There is naturally some apprehension around the present political uncertainty, he observes, but he says areas of the housing market in Norfolk continue to thrive.

'The local picture for the housing market is 'business as usual' and this will continue in January 2019, making it the ideal time to consider your move.'

Dan Crawley, residential director at Aldreds suggests listing early in 2019 offers the best chance of catching the new year buyers.

'It gives you time to get an early purchase in and be in the new home in time for the spring,' he says.

'It also offers lots of time to arrange a move – moving can be a lengthy process and by starting early there are often fewer seasonal time pressures to contend with.'

Tom Clayton, branch manager at Property Ladder, says the early part of the year is often the busiest as many homebuyers aim to be in their homes for the summer ahead of the school year starting in September.

'January is when you tend to start seeing the most stock appear on the market, so for buyers there is a good selection to choose from and by starting early you will be ahead of the competition,' he says.

'If a customer is looking at selling and buying, it's always best to start as soon as possible. House prices have a continued growth albeit gradual throughout each year (based on current trends); so certainly up-sizers should act now. Then, if prices do go up, they won't get priced out on their next move.'

Neil Russell, area manager at Musker McIntyre, agrees those wishing to market their homes in 2019 can get ahead of the market and the competition by starting the process sooner rather than later.

'With many agents advising vendors to reduce their prices in an attempt to gain interest before Christmas then there are many bargains to be had in the current marketplace for buyers,' he says.

'And with many experts stating the market in our region will see a small increase in 2019 then this is a prime time to offer on properties currently on the market.'

He adds: 'The uncertainty has definitely slowed the market down in the UK over the past number of weeks but once the New Year commences, I think that people have had enough of the doom and gloom and life will go on – and so will the housing market.'

Steven Huxley, office manager at The Property People in Gorleston, says more people search online for a new home over the Christmas period than any other time of the year.

Marketing now will enable sellers to benefit from the motivation of buyers which may well be high at the start of the year.

Furthermore, he adds: 'During the spring and summer months, when the weather is pleasant, and the nights are longer, viewers are plentiful.

'This is not the case in wintertime: if somebody is viewing your property, they hold a genuine interest in the property and this will provide you more encouragement and motivation to prepare your home for a viewing.'

Bryan Baxter, director and auctioneer at Auction House East Anglia says there are specific reasons why those selling and buying at auction should act soon.

'Owners of empty property can expect them to deteriorate over the winter and certainly shouldn't be expecting prices to rise in 2019.

'The truth is that empty properties cost money, so the immediate decision should be to rent out or sell up,' he says.

'My advice to landlords is to sell sooner rather than later so that the taxman doesn't catch you out any more than he has already done so.

'Also remember that the quickest way to sell is by auction.'

He suggests there is currently a buyer's market, which typically holds prices down: 'There should be bargains around and you should be able to negotiate a better deal early in the year because circumstances will likely favour the buyer.

'January should also see a lot of new stock come to market, certainly we're expecting larger auction catalogues early in the year.'

He adds: 'Buyers and sellers should see the current climate as an opportunity rather than a threat – our auction results through the autumn proved this time and time again.

'Be encouraged, don't get disheartened and take two positive steps forward because fortune favours the brave.'

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