Timing the Market: When to Sell?

Is it a myth, or is it really possible to find the ‘best’ time to put your home on the market?  Examining whether there is a perfect time for you to sell

The Seasonal Real Estate Market

One thing is for sure: as life changes, the way you live – your shelter – might have to change too.  You already know that leaving your savings in your home or other property isn’t always the best choice if you need income; you already know you might have to consider moving for any number of reasons.  So when is the best time to make your move?

New watch by drukelly
New watch by drukelly

Depending on the province, city and even neighbourhood, there may be a pattern of fluctuations in the market.  This pattern might be seasonal and repeat itself every year, or it may be dependent on some other variable.  As a Toronto real estate authority, Jamie has a very good idea of the local market and will help you time your home sale well.  On a macro level, however, it’s good to know that…

  • Generally speaking, Canadians like to move during the spring, summer and fall, because the weather, travelling conditions and daylight are best suited for moving.  Because most real estate transactions have a closing period of at least 30 to 90 days, that means the most popular times to actually buy a home in Toronto are traditionally in the fall and spring.
  • Holidays, extreme weather, and anticipated taxes, interest rate hikes and changes to mortgage rules, also affect buying behaviour.
  • While traditionally there are fewer buyers from December to February and from June through August, there are a lot fewer listings as well – which means less competition for your home once it is on the market.
  • Though home sales peak in the spring and fall, they are happening all year, so if your goal involves moving sooner rather than later, you will still be able to achieve your desired outcome; it may just take a little longer.
  • Selling your home can involve considerable disruption, so if you do have a legitimate concern about disrupting your work or the school year, putting off a sale till a certain season does make sense.
  • Almost all houses look better in the late spring and summer, so if curb appeal is a concern for you, this may be something to consider.

Other Factors Affecting Sale Timing

Jamie often advises concerned home sellers about timing the real estate market, and yet experience has led him to include one caveat in the advice:  ‘Don’t become overly obsessed with timing!’  Especially if you are moving within the same city, you will be buying your next home in the same type of real estate market in which you are selling – a correlation that will offset much of your timing-related ‘gain’ or ‘loss’.

Though you may be reluctant to sell your home under less than perfect conditions, it’s important to your bottom line not to delay a home sale unless you can really afford to sit back and wait.  Jamie will help you craft a strategic plan to determine the pros and cons – financial and otherwise – of selling or holding off.  Here are some broader things to keep in mind that will help you decide on a good time to put your home on the open market:

  1. Interest Rates – They are still at historic lows and there is no guarantee this situation will continue unabated.  If interest rates rise, it reduces the number of qualified buyers and drives demand – and house prices – down.  Low interest rates also allow you to buy your next home at or near your current mortgage rates.
  2. Demographics – These stats that describe population composition, such as age, income, migration patterns and population growth, are an often overlooked but significant factor that affects how real estate is priced and what kinds of properties are in demand. Major shifts in demographics can have a large impact on real estate trends for several decades. For example, the retirement of the Baby Boomers, which began last year, is bound to be noticed in the market for decades to come. When thinking about the shifting demographic, we ask questions such as, ‘How will the aging population affect the demand for larger homes? Condos? What demographic does my location & property suit best?’
  3. The Economy – As we saw with the recent recession, the overall health of the economy affects the broader real estate market greatly. Generally speaking, when the economy – as measured by economic indicators such as the GDP, employment data, manufacturing activity etc. – is sluggish, so is real estate.
  4. Government Policies – Tax credits, deductions and subsidies are some of the ways the government can temporarily boost demand for real estate. Being aware of current government incentives can help you determine changes in supply and demand and identify opportunities in the market.

Of course, there are also more complex elements that come in to play in the local marketplace – such as what the direct competition is selling for – that will greatly impact your decision of whether and when and how to sell your home. Jamie will help you to understand the key factors that drive the real estate market, and will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your investment, so you can make an informed choice between the available alternatives.

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