— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.
Today, we’re looking at the best time to sell your Toronto house or condo.
If Location, Location, Location is the #1 rule of Toronto real estate, then Timing, Timing, Timing is the second. Here are the important factors to consider when deciding when to list your home for sale.
Option 1: Strike When the Market is Hot
For many people, the best time to sell is when there are plenty of Buyers looking to buy.
In Toronto there are seasonal fluctuations in the real estate market, impacting everything from how long it takes a property to sell to the final selling price. The same patterns repeat, year after year. Click through the tabs below to see the monthly statistics for Toronto, from 2015-2021.
Seasonal Real Estate Patterns in Toronto
Other Market Factors in Determining the Best Time to Sell
Market activity isn’t just impacted by seasonal fluctuations. It’s also impacted by interest rates, lending rules, overall economic health and activity and the employment market. You can see more statistics here in the TREB Market Watch Reports.
Option 2: Zig When Everybody Else is Zagging
If you list your home in the peak months, like everyone else in your neighbourhood, potential Buyers will have infinitely more options to choose from, which may result in your home being on the market longer, or not getting as high a price as you could have received had you listed when there was less competition.
The best time to list your home may well be when other Sellers are busy at the cottage or getting ready for the holidays. Homes listed in August and December, when there are traditionally fewer homes for sale, have an opportunity to stand out. Less competition from the neighbours and motivated off-season Buyers can be an effective strategy for a quick sale at market value prices. looks to buy a house around the Christmas holidays? People who need to buy. And who wants to follow everybody else anyhow?
If you own a home in an area that’s suddenly become hot and in demand, that’s great news for you. If new benchmark prices are being in your neighbourhood, that might be the perfect time to list your home for sale. If you’re lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood where new benchmark prices are being set and homes are appreciating faster than the norm, you probably already know it. Your neighbours are talking about that house that sold for $200K more than asking and $75K more than the last house and REALTORS are probably filling your mailbox with even more flyers than usual.
What makes a neighbourhood suddenly become popular? It could be a lot of things:
- The public school suddenly ranks at the top of the Frasier Institute’s rankings; or
- A new transit line is announced; or
- Trendy restaurants and shops creep into an area that was previously dull; or
- Toronto Life declares a neighbourhood in their Top 10 list; or
- A celebrity moves in the area.
Rapid price increases in a particular neighbourhood or street can be traced to that good old economic principle of Supply and Demand. When there are too many people (demand) chasing too few houses (supply), prices increase. And sometimes, that can happen really fast. Usually, it starts with the sale of one house (or condo) that sells for a whole lot more than expected and everybody excited. And suddenly, everybody wants in.
Here’s what you need to know about benchmark prices:
- When valuing houses, appraisers and real estate agents look at the most recent sales to get an understanding of the demand and prices in the immediate market. In a market that moves as fast as Toronto’s, that may involve looking at the last 3 or 6 months of sales – so every sale is important.
- When a high sale happens on a street or in a condo building, it’s not unusual for other Sellers to decide to sell too. “I can get how much for my house? Let’s sell it!” When that happens, one high sale can lead to another and another, thus creating a new benchmark price for the street or building.
- Keep in mind that true benchmark prices are set by multiple sales that deviate from the norm, thus setting a new norm. Just because one house sells significantly higher (or lower) than usual, a new benchmark hasn’t necessarily been set. There may have been extenuating circumstances and that sale might be considered an outlier. But if multiple Buyers buy multiple houses on a street, in a building or in a neighbourhood at inflated prices, boom! You’ve got a new benchmark. It might just be the best time to sell your house.
As much as everybody likes to try ‘time the real estate market’, most Sellers opt for Option 4: they list their homes for sale at a time that’s convenient for them. We all have competing priorities in life and selling your home isn’t always easy to fit in. While prioritizing convenience over market activity might mean a longer sale or an impact on the sale price, life happens. Some of the things you’ll want to think about in determining the best timing for you to list your home:
- The time you have to dedicate to preparing your home for sale (See our 30 Day Guide to Selling here)
- Your personal schedule: school, vacation, busy times at work, etc.
- Whether you want to buy or sell first (See our blog dedicated to that here)
- Your financial situation – unexpected incoming or outflows of $$ often pre-empt listings
- Your personal situation – marriages/divorces/births/deaths – these are some of the most common reasons people sell and often dictate the timing
- When your mortgage is up for renewal (important in order to avoid a penalty if you aren’t buying another property and porting your mortgage)
Keep in mind that the ideal preparation, pricing and negotiation strategies for sale will change depending on when you decide to list it. A good REALTOR can guide you through the right strategies for what’s happening on the market at the time you decide to list.
Questions about when is the best time to sell for you? We’d be happy to chat.