In Real Estate, timing is key. You may have the perfect house to sell, in a desirable location, but if you sell it at the wrong time, you may end up receiving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than you should. Traditionally, Spring has always been the best time to sell, with a healthy amount of properties on the market, and an abundance of buyers. However, the pandemic has thrown convention into a flux and strayed away from seasonal patterns.
So when is the ‘best’ time of year to sell? Here’s a brief rundown of the benefits and drawbacks of both seasons:
Quantity: This is when the majority of people are in the market to buy a house.
Weather: Favourable conditions ensures that you can show your house in the best possible light.
Apathy: More people looking to purchase a home can lead to buyer apathy, with more listings saturating the market. Bully offers are also more likely, with potentially negative market conditions.
Less serious buyers: Since there are more houses available on the market, buyers have more choice, and are less serious when making offers,
Serious buyers: Buyers that are looking in the Winter generally are facing some sort of deadline. You may not get as many showings, but the people that are coming through are typically more qualified and serious.
Limelight: With less houses on the market, your home will be more desirable, and may push up prices,
Contractors: Handyman services are promptly available & at lower costs. During the Spring and summer, it takes weeks to get a contractor in to get your house ready.
Access to loans: Greater at the beginning of the year, therefore, loans can be processed quicker & buyers are more readily deemed qualified.
Weather: Not just due to the cold temperatures and snow, but also because the sellers will less likely wish to move, due to the harsher conditions,
Holiday season: Busy time of year, with family obligations, end-of-year deadlines etc.
Lack of light: it’s more difficult to show your house in the best possible ‘light’.
But what about the statistics?
All the data from the Toronto Real Estate board would support the notion that purchasing in winter is increasing in popularity, and also the prices are rising at a quicker rate for then too.
If we look at the principal months of Spring: April and May compared to December and January for Winter, we can see from the last full set of yearly results, that April took a 67.0% drop, with May decreasing by 53.7%. Even though January the sales dropped for year-over-year sales, December increased significantly.
Nationwide, the pattern was similar. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported in December 2020 that there was a 47.2% year-over-year gain in sales that month, – the largest such increase in monthly sales in 11 years, by a margin of more than 12,000 transactions.
And it’s not just the number of homes, that are being sold in Winter vs Spring that is increasing, but also the average value of those houses being sold too:
Whereas in May, the average house price from 2019 to 2020 increased by $45,000, from April during that same period, it actually dropped slightly. But the average price of a house in January went up $90,000, and in the case of December, by $94,000. Indeed, May and December had nearly identical average prices at $838,000, but on average, houses in December 2020 sold for $70,000 more than in May.
With record-breaking sales volume recorded during both winter and spring months, there’s no ‘bad’ time to sell your house. However, whilst there’s little doubt that most houses are bought and sold in Spring, there is more value to be found in Winter. With the advent of cutting edge A.I. focused realtor websites like Planulife, it’s easier for buyers and sellers to actively be looking irrespective of the weather. The old Real Estate adage about when the best time to buy Real Estate would sound true: ‘‘When others aren’t!’”
*All data taken from TREB and correct at time of publication
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