Is There A Best Time Of Year To Sell Your Home?

Jason Bell - December 2011


Our team is always asked when the best time to sell a house is. Everything has a season, including selling your house. Listing at the right moment could mean a little more money in your pocket.


Firstly, homes sell every day in Calgary regardless of the time of year. I just checked the MLS statistics and as of 9:35pm tonight, December 12 2011, as I write this article, 50 properties have sold since this morning in Calgary & area.


Traditionally, Spring is the hottest season for real estate. Real estate activity often picks up significantly around March or April and remains constant in Calgary until the beginning of Summer (what is often referred to as the Stampede or Summer slow-down.)


July and August often bring a lag in sales and real estate activity as Calgarians go away on vacation or simply take advantage of the brief, hot weather we usually receive. Then sales pick up again after Labour Day in early September before dropping in December as buyers and sellers start thinking about the holidays. But after New Year's, in addition to the existing buyers still looking for their perfect home, we often see a new crop of buyers that are fulfilling their New Year's resolutions and looking for houses or condos.


Another factor to pay attention to are market trends. In the housing market, sometimes there are buyers' markets and sometimes there are sellers' markets.


Basically, a 'buyer's market' is where there are more people wanting to sell homes than there are people wanting to buy homes (i.e. there are more houses available for sale than there are buyers.) With this surplus of homes for sale, buyers often have an advantage in price negotiations because many sellers will be keen to make a sale. Often times, people worry that if they sell during a buyers' market that they will have to discount their asking price and possibly lose valuable home equity. While this is often true, they will still benefit when they become buyers and will also likely get a discount on their own purchase.


A sellers' market is when there are more buyers than available homes on the market. Here the tables are turned and the buyers must face fierce competition to purchase a house, often having to offer more than they would have liked. This is nice for sellers because they profit from the high demand, yet when they become buyers after their home sale, they will enter into that same market and will have to compete against other voracious buyers.


At the end of the day, I go back to what I wrote near the beginning: homes sell every day in Calgary. However, if we were considering selling our home and the market conditions were favourable, then from a seasonal perspective, I would just make sure that it wasn't close to Christmas time where it might be ignored (I'd wait until after New Year's to put it on the market) or it wasn't the middle of August (I'd wait until after the Labour Day long-weekend when activity typically picks up).

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