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December 19, 2012

Holiday Sellers Motivation. Survey says….

by mark mclean

survey-saysAs we inch closer to the holidays, time with our family and maybe a little vacation, most of us happily put our real estate business on hold. I say most of us but the reality is that real estate stops for no man (or woman). Years ago I remember buying a house for myself on December 23rd. So it brings up an interesting question. Is there any gain in keeping a house listed over the holidays? It was a question that was brought up a few weeks ago at our office Mastermind. Someone, in fact, asked whether the people who kept their homes for sale over the holiday were sending a message of desperation or were agents just to lazy to push the PAUSE button. You can read the initial post here.

Ultimately, we wondered what percentage of sellers absolutely needed to sell their homes. The answers from the group  ranged from 10% to 70%. Much too wide to leave to chance so I enlisted the help of many of the RealtyLab followers to answer a short survey. The results were not all that surprising and, interestingly, confirm the suspicion that Toronto is indeed a city with two markets; Houses and Condos.

First I asked agents to comment, based on their knowledge of the Toronto Real estate market, on what percentage of freehold homes currently listed for sale in the city were being sold by owners who were under pressure to sell quickly. I know this is kind of a vague question but the results were still interesting. Over 41% of respondents felt that between 30-50% of sellers were under pressure, while over 41% of respondents felt that a much higher percentage of condo owners were under the same pressure ( 50-70%).

On why owners were selling, respondents were evenly split with nearly 25% saying their clients were interested in moving up and another 25% saying that their sellers were carrying 2 or more properties. 12% of respondents felt that their clients were simply testing the market while a mere 6% felt that their clients were actively and seriously in a position to accept any reasonable offer.

Next, I asked how long the respondents listings had been on the market. I hoped that this question would shed some light on the two markets but as it turns out, more home listers responded than condo listers so I thought this question  had little bearing on the overall survey. But in case you are wondering, 23% of respondents had new house listings while none had any new condo listings and as expected, overall condos were on the market longer than freehold properties.

Finally I asked what those respondents planned to do over the coming few weeks. 50% planned on terminating the listing until after the holidays, 14% planned on taking a longer time off the market with hopes of relisting in the spring, while 7% where simply planning on letting the listing expire.

Either way you slice it, there are going to be some listings kicking around over the holidays and probably some deals to be found.  I can personally think of three great reasons to buy during the holidays. First, the houses that are available are obviously motivated, second, you are not likely to be in competition with other buyers because they are out shopping, and finally, and we keep coming back to this, interest rates remain historically low.

As usual, be prepared for the spike in listings starting in mid January.


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