If you have been sitting on the fence waiting for spring to sell your house, you're not alone.
In most years, buyer activity is lower during the winter months, with prices following the decline in activity. This year, however, prices continue to rise, even as sales volume declines.
Why would that happen? There's simply not enough supply to satisfy the demand.
All of the key metrics point to Durham Region's market being critically under-supplied. In December, active listings dropped 35.5% from November levels, and 31.8% from a year ago.
The average listing sold in December at 99% of list price. Inventory levels for the month were just 2 months, meaning that if no new listings were added, all inventory would sell in just two months at current sales levels.
In addition, the days on market average for listings was 28 days in Durham. Last December, it was 34.
Some of the communities in south Durham have even tighter metrics. For example, Ajax had only 1.5 months of inventory and had active listings drop a whopping 57.3% from November.
Some neighbourhoods have very little active listings at present. Last month, one listing that sold in Oshawa had 33 written offers. That isn't a typical scenario, but it does show that there are a lot of buyers active out there.
Waiting for spring may give you an opportunity to showcase features that don't show well in the winter. Maybe you have a professionally landscaped yard, or a gorgeous inground pool.
Most people that view homes in the winter don't expect to see these features at their best at this time. You can leave photos of these in the home for potential buyers to see.
Focus on the Indoors
On the other hand, if your outdoor spaces are average, you can focus your efforts on showcasing the interior of your house. A good agent will work with you to prepare your home to look its best.
Also, having little listing competition will allow you to maximize your return without having to adjust based upon other listings. That advantage will likely change in a couple of months when a flood of houses hit the market at the same time.
If the supply issue is satisfied by a large number of new listings, expect prices to stabilize, or even drop.
There is little to suggest that this is likely, but many owners who otherwise wouldn't consider selling might hop on the bandwagon when prices reach a certain threshold.