The Best Time to Sell Your Home

Not sure when you should put your home on the market? Check out our tips for determining the right time to sell a house in Canada.

By Emily Southey | 10 minute read

Mar 31

To help you determine the best time to sell your home, we’ve put together a list of factors that can impact your ability to find a buyer. From identifying patterns in your local housing market to considering benchmark prices and consulting with a REALTOR®, check out our top tips for deciding when to sell a house in Canada.

Assess the Housing Market

The first and perhaps most important tip for determining the right time to sell a house in Canada is to assess the market. Do some research into the housing market in your neighbourhood or city. Is it a buyer’s market? Is it a seller’s market? Is the market hot or is it cooling off? The answers to these questions can help you decide whether it’s best to put your home on the market as soon as possible or to hold off for a more advantageous time. Generally speaking, if demand is high and supply is low, then home sellers may benefit from listing their properties sooner rather than later.

Look for Patterns in the Market

Beyond noting whether it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market, look for patterns in the market. Depending on the province, city, or even neighbourhood, there might be a clear pattern of fluctuations. Seasonal fluctuations are one of the most common patterns (more on this below), but the pattern could also depend on another factor. Research the local housing market in the past several months or even years to identify clear patterns.

Consider Benchmark Prices

Another consideration when deciding the right time to sell your home relates to benchmark prices. Choosing to sell your home when benchmark prices are rising in your neighbourhood could have major benefits. Benchmark prices are set when multiple home sales deviate from the previous norm, thereby creating a new norm. This typically occurs in up-and-coming, in-demand areas where home values are appreciating quickly. Various factors may be responsible for this rise in demand, from a highly ranked school moving into the neighbourhood to a new public transit line being announced. Keep in mind that benchmark prices are only set when multiple sales deviate from the norm. Therefore, one house selling way above the norm could just be an outlier and does not necessarily set a new benchmark price.

Examine Interest Rates

If interest rates are lower — perhaps even at a historic low as they were earlier in the pandemic — this could indicate that it’s a good time to sell your home. When interest rates rise, there will be fewer buyers, which translates to less demand and flatter or lower house prices. When trying to determine the best time to sell your Ontario home, examine interest rates set by the Bank of Canada. (To better understand the relationship between mortgage rates and the central bank’s overnight rate, check out Wahi’s explainer.)

Research Government Policies

Sometimes federal and provincial governments might try to temporarily increase demand for real estate by incentivizing buyers and sellers through a series of subsidies, tax credits, or deductions. It’s always worth researching existing government policies in case there is an incentive you can take advantage of that makes it worthwhile to sell your home now rather than waiting.

Consult with a Realtor

Ultimately, one of the best ways to decide when to sell your home is by consulting with a Realtor. Realtors are experts in the industry and can offer their professional opinion on the best time for home sellers to list their properties. However, don’t just consult with any Realtor. Instead, choose one with extensive knowledge of the local housing market and who has a proven track record of selling homes similar to yours.

“Beyond noting whether it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market, look for patterns in the market. Depending on the province, city, or even borough, there might be a clear pattern of fluctuations.”

The Canadian Housing Market by Season

While seasonal changes are not the only factor that should be used to decide when to sell your home, there’s no denying that seasonality matters. Seasonality is especially important in places that experience four distinct seasons. Since the seasonal changes are so pronounced here in Canada, they often affect the ebbs and flows of the housing market. Below, we examine the Canadian housing market by season and provide a few tips on selling your home in all four seasons.

Spring Real Estate Market

Real estate experts tend to agree that the best season to sell a home in Canada is spring. In particular, the months between March and June. Studies show that homes are more likely to sell faster in a spring market. Part of the reason for this is that the long, cold winter is coming to an end and people who are interested in buying a home want to be able to enjoy it over the summer. Meanwhile, homebuyers with school-aged children might wait until the end of the school year before moving, which means they will begin house hunting in the spring with the hopes of moving into their new home in the late spring/early summer. Purchasing in the spring means closing before Septeming — this allows families to get the kids settled and registered in a new school before the fall semester. 

The Pros of Selling Your Home in Spring

Home sellers might derive several benefits from listing their homes in spring. Home sellers will benefit from the improved curb appeal that naturally comes with spring, like green grass, trees covered in leaves, and flowers in bloom. Finally, the warmer temperatures and increased daylight that come with spring translate to more time for homebuyers to search for properties. 

The Cons of Selling Your Home in Spring

Depending on the spring weather you’re having, these months in Canada could be gloomy, grey, and muddy, which can do the exact opposite of boosting your curb appeal. For this reason, you may wish to wait until late spring to list your home. Another disadvantage of selling in the spring is this tends to be the most popular time for homeowners to list, which increases competition. There are more options for buyers. Also if you’re selling in the spring that may mean buying in the spring, which could mean facing a more competitive bidding environment as you search for your next home. 

Summer Real Estate Market

Long summer days, warm temperatures, and the end of the school year are just a few key reasons that buyers might choose to purchase a home in the summertime. So if you’re interested in selling your home between June and August, you might be on the right track.

The Pros of Selling Your Home in Summer

Similar to spring, one of the pros of selling your home in the summer is that the days are longer, which means you have more time to schedule showings. Plus, the weather is more predictable, allowing you to showcase your home in its best light. Sunny days will maximize the natural light in your space while the warm weather means an ambience of green grass, birds chirping, rustling leaves on trees, and fresh flowers in bloom. Some buyers with kids may also feel the pressure to close as they want to move and get settled into their new homes before the school starts back up in September.

The Cons of Selling Your Home in Summer

Summer is a popular time for people to go on vacations or head up to the cottage, which might mean fewer buyers in your neighbourhood. Excessive heat and humidity could be a turnoff for some buyers who would prefer to stay home in the extreme weather. On the other hand, sellers that host showings in their homes over the summer may need to spend more money on air conditioning to ensure a comfortable temperature for potential buyers touring their homes. Lastly, the summer is typically the busiest time of year for professionals like landscapers, contractors, and realtors, which could make hiring one more difficult or expensive than normal.

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Fall Real Estate Market

Fall is the second most popular time to buy — or sell — a home in Canada. After taking summer vacations, some buyers return to the market with restored determination to purchase a property.

The Pros of Selling Your Home in Fall

Buyers who, for whatever reason, were not able to close a deal in the spring or summer might be especially motivated to buy in the fall so that they can move in before the holiday season. Another advantage of selling in the fall is that the cost of hiring a contractor or gardener to fix up your home may be lower. Finally, if you live somewhere with comfortable fall temperatures and beautiful foliage, it can create an attractive backdrop for listing photos.

The Cons of Selling Your Home in Fall

The Canadian housing market typically slows down towards the end of fall. Depending on the fall you’re having or how late in the fall you list your house, you may be dealing with cold, wet weather. Your lawn may also be more difficult to maintain as leaves fall and flowers die off. Buyers may also have more conditions as demand decreases, giving them the upper hand. 

Winter Real Estate Market

The winter months are undoubtedly the most difficult time of year to sell a home in Ontario. The reasons for this are obvious. It’s dark and cold and even the most motivated buyer would typically prefer to house hunt and move in the spring or summer rather than the winter. There’s also the fact that some potential buyers are out of town on vacation, or focused on spending time with family and friends.

The Pros of Selling Your Home in Winter

When you list your home in the winter, you’re dealing with a smaller pool of potential buyers.  However, the buyers who are actively searching in the market tend to be quite serious about buying. There are also generally fewer competing listings.

The Cons of Selling Your Home in Winter

The cons of selling a home in the winter are that the days are shorter and the weather is colder, which means minimal natural light and fewer showings. Further, renovating or repairing your home — especially if repairs need to be made to the exterior — is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to the freezing temperatures. Curb appeal may also be affected as the front lawns and backyards will be covered in snow. It’s harder to showcase that pool or garden under two feet of snow. Buyers may also be more demanding at this time of year as they’re facing less competition from other bidders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to sell a house?

Generally speaking, the spring and fall months are the best time to sell a house. The specific month varies depending on which part of the province you’re looking at. However, selling anytime between March and June could be most beneficial. 

What is the slowest month for real estate sales?

Summer and winter are the slowest seasons for real estate sales in Canada. That said, there could still be advantages to listing your home during the off-peak months, depending on property type or personal need, for example.

Is it a good time to sell a house in Canada?

Whether the market is hot or cold, people are always downsizing and upsizing or relocating for work or retirement. Newcomers, meanwhile, have to find accommodations. Therefore, now might be a great time to list your home.

Emily Southey

Wahi Writer


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