If you’re picturing yourself putting the finishing touches to this year’s Christmas lunch in the kitchen of your new home, then now’s the time to contact a buyer’s advocate and start your property hunt.

The property market tends to follow some fairly predictable patterns each year, falling roughly in line with the seasons. Spring is generally the busiest time, while the weather isn’t the only thing that cools off during winter! Sometimes it will be a buyer’s market, while at other times it will be more favourable to sellers.

These seasonal patterns mean prime selling season is now well underway, and the window until the market slows again is closing fast.

We take a look at some of the factors underpinning the general patterns of peaks and troughs in the market, and why if you’re keen to be “at home” for Christmas, time is running out to take your pick of the available stock.

The seasonal effect

During winter – at least in the cooler states – the market is usually fairly quiet. Vendors may not have the opportunity to present their properties in the best light in winter, unlike spring and summer when the sun is shining and gardens are blooming. Winter can still provide opportunities for buyers though, as they may be able to negotiate better deals with vendors.

In spring, the market starts to heat up as more stock becomes available. However, there are often more buyers looking to purchase as well – which can increase the competition and potentially push up prices.

Things will often start to slow down again during autumn, providing a steadiness in the market.

The difference geography makes

Not everywhere in Australia has four distinct seasons though, which means seasonal differences are not always a hard and fast rule.

In Brisbane for example, winter-time is usually mild and quite sunny. This can make it a pleasant time for buyers to be out property hunting – which can in turn increase buyer competition and make it more of a seller’s market. So how things pan out in winter in chilly Victoria may be quite different from that in sunny Queensland!

The impact of holidays and long weekends

Public holidays and long weekends may provide good opportunities for buyers to negotiate with sellers. Melbourne Cup Day in Victoria is a classic example, when many workers take a four-day weekend to make the most of the spring carnival, or to go away for a short break.

With fewer people around, it may mean buyers are able to secure a good deal, as the competition will be lower. School holidays can also be a quieter time, as people take time to be with their kids, reducing buyer competition.

On the other hand, it can also mean that some sellers decide to hold off putting their properties on the market until the holiday season is over, temporarily reducing the amount of stock to choose from.

Other factors that impact the market

There are of course many other factors that affect the market, such as interest rates, location, availability of jobs, wages growth, tax benefits, population, demographics, consumer sentiment and others.

But even so, what happens during the calendar year in terms of supply and demand can have a major impact on prices, and it’s recommended that buyers keep a keen eye on seasonal cycles.

What about the lead-up to Christmas?

As it gets closer to the Christmas season, most people start to become preoccupied with the upcoming festivities and their summer travel plans. Sellers are often keen to offload their property and get it settled before they go on leave or close their businesses for the summer break.

This means buyers may be able to secure some good deals – such as a reduced price on a property in exchange for a quicker settlement.

There are only about nine weeks to go before the market starts to slow down again. If you don’t get out and buy soon, you may find yourself having to wait until February or March next year.

If that sounds daunting, a professional buyer’s advocate who knows the market well can help you to find the type of property you are looking for, within the short amount of time left, leaving you to simply look forward to settling in without stress!