Christmas House Shopping

'Buy in a slow market and sell in a fast one' are words of wisdom bandied about in property circles. As we head downhill towards the end of the year and bump through the silly season of parties, holidays and family gatherings, events conspire this year to make this adage particularly apt.

If you are in the market to buy a home, now is the ideal time to snap up bargains as the rest of the country go about their business of rushing around and focusing on year-end parties and Christmas shopping.

This 'Perfect Storm' of house hunting comprises the following:

Market Slowdown
There is a slowdown in the middle to upper end of the market at the moment and these sellers would be wondering what happened to that property boom. Some of these sellers, being duped by unscrupulous or overzealous agents would have priced their properties way too high to receive any real attention.

Interest Rate Fears
Together with the psychological bogey-man's threat to raise interest rates next week (even though all the latest figures seem to point in the other direction), the spectre of threatened interest rate hikes in the new year is starting to temper some buyers appetite for paying ridiculous prices for property.

Timing
While getting their kids to the beach by Christmas distracts buyers, little time is left for serious house hunting. This depletes the number of buyers out there and that can only help the buyer achieve a better price in the silly season.

The buyers might well be down on the coast somewhere helping unbalance that property market over the net month or so. The sellers, if not in one of these holiday friendly areas, will suddenly notice a dearth of buyers. Most of these sellers will pack up and fly off somewhere themselves and take their property off the market for the next few weeks. Those sellers that are left are the serious, savvy or desperate. It's up to the buyer to decide which and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Psychology
Sellers with properties on the market would have been through the last few weeks with fewer buyers coming around. Their mental state must have anticipated signing that deal and bedding things down before Christmas. That's human nature. We want to start the New Year with a fresh slate. This creates an opportunity to finalise deals that previously wouldn't have been done. Deals can be done! What an opportunity.

Focused and determined
Many estate agents in the inland areas find that they do more business between now and the end of the year (especially the week between Christmas and New Year) than at any other time of the year because of the very reasons listed above.

The inland Christmas property market is about as slow as things get in the year. If you're buying, now is a great time. What have you put in your stocking for Christmas this year?

Article by: Dave Welmans - (www.thepropertygame.co.za)