Is there a perfect time to sell your family home or condo? You can sell a convertible easier, faster and probably for a higher price in the spring or summer than in the winter when the roads are icy or snowy. Perhaps there is a similar pattern for property sales.
In spring, a particularly large number of properties come onto the market. In this season, houses with well-maintained gardens and apartments with large balconies or terraces are particularly sought after. Outside, all the flowers and plants are in bloom, and inside, thanks to plenty of daylight, the rooms seem brighter and friendlier than in the dark winter months. Usually, families are looking for a new home in this period, hoping to find one before the school year starts after the summer vacations. Demand is high in the spring - but other homeowners who are willing to sell also know that.
In summer it is calmer, because many people go on vacation and travel. Especially families with children. Although it is quieter, this month offers great opportunities for sales. On the one hand, there is less competition on the property market, and on the other hand, prospective buyers who have stayed at home have more time to look for properties and visit them. It is best to schedule viewings in the late afternoon or early evening. Then it is no longer so hot and the evening sun creates a special atmosphere inside and outside.
Also the autumn is not so busy. Only a few families are looking for a new house because their children have just started school or have started a new class. Nevertheless, this season is a good time for property sales. There are fewer prospective buyers, but they are more motivated because they want to find a new home before winter sets in. There is also less competition. It is best to arrange viewings during the day, for example on the weekend, so that you can present your house or apartment in the most beautiful autumn light.
Winter is the most quiet season, because many people have more work to do at the end of the year and the festive season is coming up. But over Christmas and New Year, the desire for more space at home, an extra room for the home office, a garden or a shorter commute matures in many people. That's why demand is likely to pick up slowly after the new year and intensify as the days get longer. Schedule viewings in the evening hours and create a homely atmosphere, for example, with a fireplace or candles in the living room.
Spring is the time when most properties are advertised and sold. However, this does not mean that it is necessarily the best time of the year for a sale. The decisive factors are supply and demand - and these rise or fall more or less in parallel. The ratio of supply to demand is plus/minus the same in spring, summer, fall and winter. But the season has an influence if you want to sell a special object. For example, a house with a garden and a swimming pool is easier and faster to sell in spring or summer. Conversely, the chances of selling a chalet in a ski resort are probably higher in autumn or winter.
Since the turn of the millennium, property prices in Switzerland have risen sharply. It is likely that the value of your house or apartment has risen sharply. At the end of 2022, supply has increased somewhat and demand has decreased somewhat. Nevertheless, demand still exceeds supply. That's why many property experts expect property prices to remain stable in 2023 and to rise slightly in good locations. But the high price momentum of recent years is likely to weaken. If you're thinking about selling your home because, for example, your children have moved out and you'd rather live in a smaller apartment that's less work, now is probably a good time to think about it and talk to a realtor.
In 2022, the Swiss National Bank raised its key interest rate in three steps from minus 0.75 to plus 1 percent. With these rate hikes, it is trying to combat inflation without choking off the economy. Because inflation in December, at 2.8 percent, was still above the target corridor of 0 to 2 percent, experts expect further interest rate hikes. In 2022, hypotheke.ch's interest rate index has risen from 1.09 to 2.67 percent. In 2023, mortgage rates will continue to rise, but not as much. If you can no longer afford or no longer want to pay the higher housing costs (mortgage interest, ancillary costs and maintenance as well as amortization), now is the time to think about selling. Especially if you need to extend your mortgage soon.
When you sell your house or apartment, you most likely make a profit. This will be taxed. The amount of the real estate gains tax depends on the net profit, the location and the holding period. Except for Basel-Land and Obwalden, all cantons grant a discount, depending on the holding period. As a rule, the longer the holding period, the greater the discount. For example, if you bought a house in the canton of Zurich in March 2003 for 1 million Swiss francs and sell it in February 2023 for 1.6 million Swiss francs, the 600,000 Swiss franc gain on the property will be taxed at 121,582 Swiss francs. If you sell the house in April 2023, it will cost you 6,882 Swiss francs, or almost 1.2 percent less. So it may be worth your while to wait a little before selling.
If you wait a few months to save a few thousand Swiss francs in real estate gains tax, you can use the time wisely. With small repairs, energetic renovation measures or a professional presentation you can optimize the selling price before you put your house or apartment out to tender. Possible sales-promoting and price-increasing measures are: