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How do you actually know when it's a good time to sell?

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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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From upsizing to downsizing, there are plenty of reasons why we want or need to sell a property. But when it comes to actual market conditions, how do you know when it’s the right time to sell or if you should simply wait it out?

Is it possible to ‘time the market’ effectively so that you can maximise your sale price?

If real estate is on your mind, then every day we’re getting messages and storing information around the current state of the market. Between all the different economic commentary, media coverage and opinions from family, friends and even old Gerald up the street, everyone seems to have an opinion on whether house prices are going to boom or bust. Because of this, it can be really hard to separate opinion from reality, and even know when it’s the right time for you to pounce. 

Every market is different, so we always recommend that doing some research is best. If you wanted to understand whether it’s a good time to sell or wait in your area, we’ll shed some light by discussing some of the market signals that you can keep an eye on. 

Below are the statistics and trends to watch so that you can make an informed decision around whether it’s a good time to sell. This will not only help you understand what your local market is doing, it’ll also help you to have more constructive and critical conversations with agents if you choose to discuss your options in more detail.

Tip #1. Is your local market gentrifying?

Gentrification is a good indicator of a 'hotter' real estate market. Want to know how your area is faring? You need to take a little look at your neighbours. 

Ask yourself, "are the people in my area changing?" Demographics aren't just important to sellers, but investors and upsizers, too. Investors want to buy into areas that are on the rise, families want to get more for their dollar, and sellers want to strike while the iron is hot. 

There’s a tonne of stats that point to gentrification and these are freely available via the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Generally, if you live in an area that looks like it’s changing through a rise in young professionals and families setting up house, then you’ve probably got a gentrifying suburb on your hands.

If you wanted to dig in more, you should look for an increase in couples with children; an increase in residents who lived at a different address five years ago; and an increase in total household income. If you’re seeing positive changes across these statistics, then it shows that your area is becoming more desirable for buyers and renters. This is especially true if you live in an area that has historically been considered unappealing.

There's plenty more where that came from

Wish you could get beyond the jargon to understand the most important market metrics that affect you and your property? It's all in this handy guide.