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Your Business Doesn’t Have to Slow Down During the Winter / Holiday Season

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In recent weeks, Americans, from all around the country, have rummaged through their closets in search of their winter coats.  And depending on where you live, you may have already even resurrected your gloves, snow hats, and possibly shovels and snow blowers.  For better, or for worse, it’s that time of the year again!  As the temperature drops, it’s not just the bears that go into hibernation, but often times, U.S. home buyers and sellers as well.  Historically, in the U.S., housing activity typically hits its annual lows November through January, with December being the slowest month.

So what does this mean if you are a U.S. real estate professional?  Should you take a cue from our feathered friends and fly south for the winter?  It may be tempting, but if you are a global practitioner, now is the time your business may start heating up.

Seasonality trends in the United States

Take a look at the below graph which compares realtor.com® searches with data from the National Association of REALTORS® showing pending sales and existing home sales.  The information is broken down by the % of activity, month by month, for the last 12 months.  The data clearly illustrates that most activity in the United States occurs in the spring and summer, while winter is slowest time of the year.

US seasonality

Global Patterns

Seasonality patterns are not universal.  Keep in mind that when you are building a snowman in the dead of winter, our friends down under in Australia are enjoying the beach during their summer holidays.  If you have built your global niche around clients from a specific country or region, it’s smart to be aware of their seasonality trends.  While you may not be busy during the winter months with your U.S. clients, this is a great time to proactively go after buyers from other countries.

The National Associations of REALTORS® maintains affiliations with 82 real estate organizations in 62 countries.  Recently, NAR polled their global partners to determine peak real estate seasons throughout the world.  The below graph provides seasonality trends from a number of countries.  You may be surprised to see that U.S. patterns look quite different from other countries.  While Americans are active throughout the summer months, many Europeans, however, are busy enjoying the warmer weather and vacation time, rather than looking for new properties.  Brazil has a pattern similar to the U.S., with buyers and sellers active in the spring/summer months.  However, seasons are the exact opposite of those in the U.S. and Europe (except for in the northern region of Brazil), when summer occurs from December through February and winter occurs from June through August.  Now is the time you may want to start courting Brazilian buyers.GLobal Seasonality

Marketing Seasonally

Paying attention to seasonal trends in the global real estate market can give you an advantage.  While you may not be getting as many U.S. leads in the winter months, if you are proactively seeking to work with buyers and sellers from outside the United States, the winter does not have to be a sleepy season.   Consider developing marketing strategies that are inclusive of seasonal trends.  Reach out to your global network and find referral partners abroad who are willing to co-market your listings.  If you are a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), now is the time to use the CIPS network to leverage relationships from around the world.  Currently there are CIPS designees is 50 countries worldwide.  If you leverage the network effectively, you will be sure to drum up business even during the “slow” season.

Let your competitors fly south for the winter- now is the time to grow your global business.

 

For more information on the CIPS designation, visit www.realtor.org/designations-and-certifications/cips-designation

Katie Stouffs Grimes

Katie Stouffs Grimes (CIPS, GREEN) is the Managing Director of Global Alliances, Communications, Marketing and Business Development for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division. She can be reached at kstouffs@realtors.org.

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