Sell in winter or wait until spring?

Royal LePage Survey: 79% of real estate professionals would advise their clients to sell this winter rather than wait until spring, as demand continues to outstrip supply

According to a recent Royal LePage survey of more than 950 real estate professionals from across Canada, the commonly held belief that it’s best to wait out the winter and list in the spring has been turned on its head this year, given the current strength of the seller’s market. Seventy-nine per cent of survey respondents, who indicated a seasonal preference for selling, would advise Canadians looking to sell their homes to list this winter, rather than wait until spring. This represents a 15 point jump from the percentage of respondents (64%) who would have recommended selling during winter months prior to the pandemic.

“Last year, we saw one of the busiest winter markets in our history and with demand continuing to climb, this winter will be another very active market in British Columbia and across the country,” said Adil Dinani, sales representative, Royal LePage West Real Estate Services in Vancouver. “Our housing supply is terribly inefficient and simply can’t keep up with demand. Even if there are fewer buyers in the winter, it is unlikely there will be enough inventory on the market to satisfy demand.”

Nationally, and across all regions surveyed, the primary reason Royal LePage real estate professionals advise not waiting for the spring market to sell is that there is currently more demand than supply in their local market (82%). Only 7 per cent said their primary reason for recommending a winter sale is that demand will peak this winter and be softer in 2022.

“Few people realize that January is one of the best times to list a property,” explains Marc Lefrançois, real estate broker with the Lefrançois team, Royal LePage Tendance in Montreal. “The first homes to be listed after the holidays are highly sought-after, and this year more than ever, the imbalance between supply and demand is favourable for sellers, as inventory shortages persist. As there is still some uncertainty surrounding the economy and a hike in interest rates is expected in 2022, I would recommend my clients not wait until the spring to sell.”

Provincially, respondents in British Columbia (93%), Quebec (87%) and Atlantic Canada (85%) were most likely to advise their clients to market their property this winter. Of the three largest urban centres, Greater Vancouver (87%) had the highest number of respondents urging sellers not to wait. Prior to the pandemic, 65 per cent would have recommended a winter sale. This was followed by 86 per cent in the Greater Montreal Area (76% prior to pandemic) and 71 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (58% prior to pandemic).

“When deciding the best time of year to list your home, there are many important factors to consider. But if you are not under any time constraints, current market conditions in the Toronto area are favouring the seller, which is not typical most winters,” said Tom Storey, real estate agent, Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto. “While we expect another brisk spring market in 2022, homeowners today have a lot of flexibility as demand continues to significantly outstrip supply.”

Top 10 tips for selling your home in the winter

If you are considering listing your home this winter season, be sure to review our top ten tips for preparing your home for a winter sale!

  1. Include both winter and summer photographs of your home in the listing so prospective buyers can better imagine themselves in the property all year round;
  2. Clear a path to the front door and pathways around the home. Make sure the walkway is free of snow and ice;
  3. Turn up the heat in your home to a comfortable temperature;
  4. Seal up any drafts in windows and doors;
  5. Provide shoe covers or slippers, or lay down a large mat, so visitors don’t leave your floors looking messy for the next appointment. Don’t forget to remove winter boots and coats from your hall to make the area look bigger and so that visitors have a clear space to enter;
  6. Up your winter curb appeal: Upgrade your mailbox and house number; add winter floral arrangements with hearty outdoor perennial planters
  7. As the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier, keep outdoor lights on during showings;
  8. Whenever possible, show your home during the daytime and let lots of natural light inside;
  9. Make the front door and entrance look warm and welcoming with seasonal decor;
  10. And, showcase how outdoor spaces can be enjoyed even in the colder months. Be sure to clear off outdoor furniture that can be used in winter.

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