If you’re in the market for a new home, the October long weekend could be just the break you’ve been looking for to get ahead of the competition.
With three of the nation’s capital cities gearing up for the Labour Day mini-break, it’s worth looking at whether public holidays offer a good time to buy, or if you could be better off taking the opportunity to head out of town.
The property market won’t be taking a break
The thing is, while you may be relaxing, the property market never sleeps. Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne says, “Thanks to technology, real estate is a 24/7 marketplace. So whether it’s Easter, Christmas or the Labour Day long weekend in October, a public holiday can offer good buying opportunities.”
There’s no doubt the October long weekend is perfectly in sync with one of the busiest periods for property. “Labour Day falls in the middle of spring, which tends to be the peak season for real estate”, says Raine. “This is when we often see more homes listed for sale, giving buyers a greater choice of properties. People are also a bit more cashed up at this time of year from tax refunds, and buying in October allows plenty of time to be settled in a new home by Christmas.”
Raine adds, “A long weekend also gives buyers more downtime, so they can relax and take a little more time checking out homes listed for sale. There certainly shouldn’t be any fewer homes open for inspection on a public holiday weekend, as it’s not necessary for the vendor to be in town for a property to be available for viewing”.
Real advantages for buyers at auction
It turns out a public holiday can offer real advantages if you’re buying at auction. Angus Raine explains, “Plenty of people go away for a few days. This can be a particular plus if a property is scheduled to be sold at auction over a long weekend because you could have fewer bidders competing against you”.
The flipside is that the Labour Day long weekend typically sees fewer auctions. Figures from CoreLogic show that the October long weekend saw a lull in auction activity last year, with only 682 homes scheduled for sale under the hammer across the nation.
The following weekend, auction numbers skyrocketed to 2,151 across the nation’s capitals.
To be fair though, last year’s Labour Day long weekend delivered the triple whammy of a public holiday and both the NRL and AFL grand finals.
Raines notes, “In the past, public holiday weekends were viewed as a no-go, and wouldn’t even have been considered by a listing agent. But this is changing thanks to technology and these days people can bid remotely or engage a buyer’s agent or trusted friend to bid at auction on their behalf. So it’s possible for a buyer to be the winning bidder even if they’re relaxing on a beach many kilometres away from where the auction is taking place.”
Despite the possibility that fewer properties will go under the hammer over the upcoming October long weekend, if last year’s auction results are anything to go by, it may not dampen clearance rates. In 2016 the Labour Day weekend saw a clearance rate of 75.4% around the nation compared to 75.8% the following weekend – barely a difference.
Set a date for long weekend house hunting or unwind?
“The reality is that a “good” time to buy is when you find a home that ticks all the boxes and fits within your buying budget,” says Angus Raine. However, he adds that buyers may need to do some advance planning.
Raine explains, “One stumbling block buyers can face with a long weekend is that key services such as solicitors, conveyancers and lenders may not be available until the Tuesday. So I would encourage buyers to arrange home loan pre-approval before a public holiday so that they can at least make an offer on the spot and be confident of following through with finance. It can be heartbreaking for buyers to find a home they love only to have to wait several days to know if they can afford it, and potentially miss out to a more organised buyer.”
Talk to your Aussie Broker about the steps you can take to be home-buying ready over a long weekend.