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It will soon be winter in New Zealand. Some property buyers will ask if they can use the cooler months to get a better price on a property?

It’s an age-old question. With a chill in the air and the market supposedly slowing down, you might think winter could be the season to score a good property deal.

After all, as temperatures drop, fewer people turn up to open homes, and not as many people list their properties for sale.

But can you really snag a house for less just because the weather is cold and a bit rainy?

Property prices generally heat up in February and spring. And it’s true that property prices are a bit more sluggish in winter.

But the quietest months, at least when it comes to house prices, are actually in summer and autumn.

That hot weather doesn’t necessarily mean a hot property market.

That means the best months for buyers to negotiate a property’s price are December and January, then April and May.

This phenomenon is probably not due to the hot weather but rather the holidays. December, January, and April are inconvenient times when looking for houses.

In December and January, we’re all thinking about Christmas. So fewer people are looking for properties.

April usually has a number of public holidays (Easter and Anzac Day), which also puts property shopping on the back burner.

We see this in the property sales data. Fewer properties sell over the Christmas period. Then, there is a noticeable fall in property transactions in April (the typical Easter month). So, as a buyer, you might find some sellers are more willing to negotiate a good purchase price as sales dip.

The traditional advice appears to be more of an urban myth. Cool weather doesn’t automatically mean cooler property prices.

But it’s also important to point out that while property prices are likely to be softer in these parts of the year, that doesn’t mean house prices always go down.

For example, property prices are most likely to go down in January. But over the last 32 Januaries, house prices only fell 50% of the time. The other half of the time, property prices still went up that month.

On the other hand, house prices are less likely to fall in February and September. But they still fell 9% and 12.5% over the last 30+ years, respectively.

So, January, December, April, and May are the most favourable months for negotiating a property price (as a buyer). That doesn’t mean that prices will always fall in these months.

So, should you wait until winter to buy a property? While you might not always land a cheaper price, the market will be quieter as fewer sales occur. That could give you the breathing room to find the right property and a tad more leverage to negotiate the right deal.

But the data suggests you’ll have even better luck in the months with lots of public (and school) holidays.

If you’re thinking about selling, generally, it’s the opposite. Prices heat up in February and spring. So, getting your house ready for sale in winter to hit the warmer spring market could be the right move to consider.

Buying or selling a house is about more than just the seasons. It’s about finding the right property that suits your needs and lining up your property sale with what suits your needs. 

Opes Partners
Ed solo

Ed McKnight

Our Resident Economist, with a GradDipEcon and over five years at Opes Partners, is a trusted contributor to NZ Property Investor, Informed Investor, Stuff, Business Desk, and OneRoof.

Ed, our Resident Economist, is equipped with a GradDipEcon, a GradCertStratMgmt, BMus, and over five years of experience as Opes Partners' economist. His expertise in economics has led him to contribute articles to reputable publications like NZ Property Investor, Informed Investor, OneRoof, Stuff, and Business Desk. You might have also seen him share his insights on television programs such as The Project and Breakfast.

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