Hot properties to warm you this Winter

27th May 2015By: Greville Pabst

Winter is almost upon us, bringing with it cold and rainy weather, less sunshine and shorter days. While evidence demonstrates deteriorating weather conditions generally have little effect on overall property buyer activity, there is a measurable effect on the number of property sales that occur during the season. That is, the winter period is typically characterised by a fall in the number of properties for sale because of a general belief that poorer weather conditions impede a property’s appeal.

However, in reality it can be quite the opposite. Winter can be the ideal time to buy and sell quality properties for many reasons, the most important of which are a heightened ability to assess a property’s strengths and weaknesses and reduced competition in the marketplace.

While quality properties withstand the winter lull, and attract interest from tenants and potential buyers all year round, others are subject to seasonal variations in performance, like a holiday home.

So what are the characteristics that underpin a property’s immunity to seasonal demand so you can determine if buying or selling in winter is right for you?

Exposure

The tilt of the earth’s axis exposes the southern hemisphere to more direct sunlight in summer, and less light during winter, which means a property’s level of exposure to natural light is often more apparent during the winter months. This is particularly the case in Melbourne, where properties with north facing backyards command higher prices due to greater exposure to light throughout the year.

With growing awareness about the importance of environmental sustainability, factors such as a home’s orientation to natural light are increasingly important in building design, renovation and purchase decisions, with clear implications for a property’s appeal and value. Internal skylights can be a clever and cost-effective way to maximise natural lighting and minimise the impact of poor orientation, with positive benefits to a property’s value.

Location

Location is among the most important factors when it comes to property performance. As most of us already know, proximity to transport infrastructure, employment opportunities and cultural precincts – such as villages, shopping facilities and entertainment – plays a large part in a property’s value and appeal.

However, there’s another important factor to consider when it comes to location. Properties located in low-lying or flood prone areas often suffer from diminished value, a trend that is particularly evident in the wetter months.

Structural integrity

Winter may be the right time to buy or sell a quality, well-designed and maintained property, but it can be the wrong time for a poorly-maintained one. During winter months, poor insulation and heating, not to mention dampness, mold and leaking roofs, can have an immediate negative impact on a buyer’s perception of a property. The quality of landscaping is also more apparent during colder weather, highlighting poor drainage and flood potential, the quality of retaining walls and paths, and the seasonal hardiness of plants and shrubbery.

Reduced competition

For vendors, a key advantage to selling property during the winter period is the reduced competition among sellers in the marketplace. It is estimated that one-third of all residential property sales occur during spring each year. In winter, fewer available properties mean fewer options for buyers, resulting in greater competition for those properties for sale.

It’s a well-known fact that weather, including temperature, wind and, most importantly, sunlight, can influence a person’s mood. Ensuring that potential structural and design issues are addressed will lift the perceived comfort of the home, with positive implications for both buyers and sellers.

In some cities such as Melbourne, consumer consumption habits are intensified by the city’s very distinct seasons and associated weather patterns. Considering these complexities will help to maximise financial outcomes when buying and selling property.