John McGrath – Why Winter is a great time to sell in 2023 | McGrath

John McGrath – Why Winter is a great time to sell in 2023

John McGrath
John McGrath
05/06/2023 | 4 MIN READ

One of the biggest myths in real estate is that Winter is a bad time to sell. Actually, the opposite is usually true, and that’s especially the case this year. Let me explain.

Selling in Winter is actually advantageous for vendors in two ways.

Firstly, there is typically a lower number of homes for sale in Winter (because of the myth!). What that does is tighten up supply, and that strengthens buyer competition for the homes on the market.

Buyers who want or need a new home do not stop looking because the weather gets cold!

Secondly, if your strategy is to buy your next home after you’ve sold your existing one, then selling in Winter means you’ll be ready to buy in Spring – when there are usually a lot more homes for sale.

These two advantages are present every year, but in 2023, the supply/demand advantage is magnified.

This is because we’re at a point in the market cycle when stock is already very low, which means buyer competition will be even stronger for the homes available for sale during Winter this year.

The market is now on its way back after a 12-month correction. Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are leading the charge. CoreLogic data shows there has been three consecutive months of growth in Sydney home values and two consecutive months of growth in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australia’s combined regional markets have also recorded two consecutive months of growth.

While buyer demand is clearly increasing, stock levels are not yet improving. This creates good selling conditions.

CoreLogic data shows the number of new listings coming onto the market is more than 20% lower than last year in every individual capital city and ‘rest of state’ region across the country.

The shortage is especially acute in Brisbane, where new listings are down 32% and in regional Queensland where stock is down 27%.

We can see the trend in real-time with auction clearance rates across the combined capital cities averaging 65% in April – that’s 10% higher than the rate recorded in December 2022.

Clearance rates are strongest in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra at above 70%. A clearance rate of 60% indicates normal market conditions.

Stock is especially low because of where we are in the market cycle. But it may not last long.

Sellers are still holding off for now but CoreLogic estimates an “accrual of pent-up supply since September 2022”, so this Spring could be very busy if we see strong results – as expected – during Winter. This may give a lot of sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines since last year the confidence to list and that could change the supply/demand dynamic pretty quickly.

So, I see a great opportunity for sellers to do very well this Winter in the suburbs with particularly tight supply.

Property portal recently released a list of suburbs in which listing numbers are significantly lower than last year and buyer enquiry on their web ads is trending higher.

Examples in NSW are Lane Cove North, Forest Lodge and Panania.

Examples in Victoria are Ringwood East, Wantirna South and Burwood.

Examples in Queensland are Jubilee Pocket, Maudsland and Heathwood.

If you’re thinking of selling this Winter, talk to a few local agents about current supply and demand dynamics in your area to see if this season presents a particularly timely opportunity for you.

Finally, here are a few tips for maximising your home’s appeal in the Winter selling season.

  • Clean your windows to maximise the flow of natural light
  • Use candles and lamps to make darker areas feel cosy
  • Heat your home well before the open or auction 
  • Clear gutters and pathways so rainwater can drain away easily.