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When is the Busiest Time of the Year to Move House?

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Summer has been the busiest time of year to move house for many years. Figures suggest that between 2007-2018, around 12.8% of all owner-occupier home movers moved house in August alone. This is a significant proportion when compared with winter move statistics – over the same period, only 5.5% of owner-occupier home movers moved in January.

But, is this just a coincidence? Do people consciously choose to move house in the summertime? And does this mean that summer is the best time to move house for everyone?

Why is summer the busiest time of the year to move house?

People often start thinking about buying and selling in the spring – it’s the start of a new year with new possibilities, the weather is starting to warm up making homes and gardens more attractive, and the days get longer encouraging people to spend more time on their search.

Therefore, as the conveyancing process tends to take around 8-12 weeks (for a straightforward sale and/or purchase), many people end up completing and moving house in the summer.

Additionally, August is an attractive time of year for home movers for many reasons, such as:

  • The weather tends to be better, making the moving process easier – wet or icy conditions can make transporting furniture and belongings hazardous
  • The summer weather can also make it easier for the new homeowners to bring in any contractors to do essential work on the property (such as the roof or windows)
  • It is the summer holidays so parents do not need to worry about upheaving their child in the middle of the school year
  • It also gives parents time to get ready for the new school year in September

Can you choose when to move house?

Summer may be the most attractive time to move, however, the fluid nature of the conveyancing process means that few people can fully control their moving date – it all depends on factors such as:

  • When the new purchase completes
  • How quickly you are able to sell your old house or when your rental contract ends
  • When the other purchases/sales in the chain (if there is one) are able to complete
  • Whether there are any issues with the chain (for example, if one sale/purchase in the chain falls through, the rest are likely to be delayed)

There are also factors not directly related to the conveyancing process, such as when you are able to book a removal company.

Although there is no guarantee as to how long the conveyancing process will take, assuming that your sale and/or purchase is relatively straightforward, you can roughly plan when you will move. For example, if you want to move house in or around August, you should probably start looking in the springtime – around March to May at the latest.

When is the best time of year to move house?

Is the busiest time of year the best time of year to move house? Unfortunately, there is no simple calculation that will help you work out exactly when to move. It will all depend on your individual circumstances and your own judgment. However, below, we’ve set out some useful tips to take into account when making a decision about when to move home.

Tips for home sellers

  • Sellers may achieve a higher purchase price in busier months - more competition between buyers could mean higher offers. However, this will also depend on factors such as your local market and the condition of your property (e.g. modern or recently renovated properties are likely to attract more attention)
  • Homes can be easier to present to potential buyers in the spring and summer months – attracting buyers is all about aspiration. Sunlight, vibrant gardens, fresh flowers and open windows to let in the fresh air can make a home more appealing and convince potential buyers to aspire to living in the property

Tips for home buyers

  • There may be less competition in late summer or autumn – as so many people choose to buy in spring or summer, competition can be fierce. Towards the end of summer, demand for houses often calms down but there are still likely to be many properties on the market
  • If you’re willing to wait, winter could be a good time to buy – the winter months of the year are often when house prices are cheapest. However, there may be fewer houses on the market so you may need to wait patiently for the right house

General tips for buyers and sellers

  • Avoid holidays – Christmas, Easter and other major holidays can cause conveyancing delays so are best avoided to reduce any stress and potential problems. It can also be incredibly stressful to try to move house around the holidays when there are so many other things to do
  • Think about term times – if you have children, it may be worth aiming to move in the summer holidays because:
    • Moving during term time can be stressful for children
    • They will have finished the school year so will avoid disrupting their education and routine (particularly if they have to move schools)
    • It gives them time to settle into their new home before the new term
    • It gives you more time to prepare for the new term
  • Think about the weather – winter is likely to be wet, icy or even snowy. This could make it more hazardous (and more unpleasant) for you or your removals company to transport your belongings to the new house
  • Removals companies may be cheaper during less-busy months – for more tips on choosing a removals company, read our handy blog post

Need advice about moving house?

Only you can decide when is the best time to move house, whether that is in the busy summer months or the slightly slower winter months. However, when you’re ready to take the plunge, our conveyancing solicitors are here to make the process as smooth and straightforward as possible.

We are a team of dedicated lawyers with particular expertise in conveyancing and we have been independently recognised for our skills with the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.

For further information about buying or selling your home, visit our Conveyancing Solicitors page or get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to answer your questions or provide a quote.