Launching a house onto the property portals on Boxing Day could be a smart move for one savvy owner. Sharon Dale reports.
Estate agent Amanda May was taken aback when a client asked her to begin marketing his house on Boxing Day.
White House Farm in the Yorkshire Dales hamlet of Skyreholme, near Skipton, has a price tag of £765,000 and appeared on Rightmove and On the Market at one minute past midnight on December 26.
“It’s very rare that a property is taken to the market over the Christmas period and it’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to launch a property on Rightmove on Boxing Day, ” says Amanda, manager of the Skipton branch of Dale Eddison.
A quick check of property portal statistics for the festive period last year showed that there was good reason for the unusual request. “It didn’t come as a surprise that from mid-November last year the online viewing figures started to gradually decline. It’s always been a quiet time. The market doesn’t come to a complete standstill but the number of viewings and valuations decrease as the run-up to Christmas takes over,” says Amanda.
“But if you look at the online figures for Boxing Day, there is a steep and noticeable upward spike in numbers, which then carries on increasing to the New Year.”
Rightmove page views shot up by 170 per cent between December 25 and December 29 2016. It’s one of the reasons why London-based estate agent Martyn Gerrard implemented a new marketing strategy last month with eight billboards and 100,000 flyers that read: “Don’t miss out on the busiest days of the year. Instruct us now and we’ll launch your property on Christmas Eve.”
Pre-internet, Christmas was a time when you took your property off the market and stopped all viewings. Putting the “for sale” sign up during the festive period or in the dark days of January was often a last resort as spring was deemed the best time for marketing.
“Traditionally the best-selling months are between March and early June and so the accepted optimum time to launch a property is around February,” says Amanda May.
“But last year we put a bonny cottage onto the market on December 23 and even before New Year we’d received seven online requests and 15 calls enquiring about it.
“It just goes to show that the right house will always sell no matter what time of year it is. It also proves that people are definitely surfing the web looking at houses for over the festive period.
“Christmas is a time of reflection and decision-making and matters relating to property are usually high on the agenda for family discussions at this time of year. It seems that the ‘slump on the sofa’ from Boxing Day onwards results in people reaching for their laptops to take a look on Rightmove for help with their property options for the future.”
Adrian Surfleet is the owner of White House Farm at Skyreholme and says: “I’m hoping that by putting our house on the market at what some would consider an unusual time, it will really stand out and catch people’s attention. I know that after a busy Christmas, my wife and I will be relaxing and ‘surfing ‘Rightmove’ in front of the log-burning stove and making plans for 2018. Fingers crossed the next people to enjoy White House Farm will be online too.”
The couple bought the 17th century Dales longhouse eight years ago as a holiday home after falling in love with the property and the location. Set on the edge of Skyreholme, near Appletreewick, it has magnificent views over the Wharfe Valley and up to Simon’s Seat.
After a no-expense-spare renovation and winning permission to convert and extend the old garage into living space, the couple and their children decided to make the former farmhouse their main home. Planning officers also helped them come up with an idea for a new garage, which is built into the hillside in the top garden.
The property, which is nine miles from Skipton, is now a cosy four-bedroom home. “It’s the most wonderful place to work from, great for entertaining friends and the children have revelled in the space and the rural freedom,” says Adrian, who works between home and his business in Leeds, which is just an hour’s drive away.
He adds: “It’s going to be very hard to say ‘goodbye’ to this house. It’s especially wonderful in winter. It’s definitely got what Danish people call hygge.”
**White House Farm is situated towards the end of a no-through road in the pretty hamlet of Skyreholme, near Appletreewick.
Warmed by a mix of radiators run on LPG, electric underfloor heating and wood-burning stoves, it has a reception hall, cloakroom, sitting room, dining room, family room, kitchen, utility room/bootroom. On the first floor, there are four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a study area and a box room. Outside, is a garden and a double garage. It also has super-fast fibre broadband.
For details contact Dale Eddison, Skipton, tel: 01756 630555, www.daleeddison.co.uk