My father told me that buying a home in the winter is the best way to get a deal because people who sell in the winter are more “motivated” to close a deal. Is this true?

It is easy to see how some people may come to think that cold weather listings equal bargain basement prices. After all, winter listings hit the market almost directly opposite the well-established, and generally buzzing spring and summer markets. However, there are several factors beyond personal motivations and circumstances that contribute to how hot or cool a season’s market will get regardless of thermostat readings.

Each season presents its own unique pluses and minuses. Understanding and explaining your own needs and concerns to your salesperson can be a good first step in creating a plan as you start the buying process. I recommend that you speak with your real estate salesperson to fully appreciate the factors and trends that are likely to impact your home buying journey. Salespersons working in the market day to day have access and knowledge of current trends and transaction data for specific regions and neighbourhoods that you may be interested in.

Your father may be on to something, though some buyers and sellers may be more motivated in winter, you can’t count on that. Sales happen for many reasons, including lifestyle needs like a job relocation, an illness or injury that impacts the functionality of one’s existing home, or the need for more space to accommodate elder care or a baby on the way. These are some of the life demands attached to fixed deadlines that motivate buyers and sellers in any season.

In some instances, buyers may benefit from a seller’s motivation to complete their sale in a market with fewer buyers to compete against to net the home of their dreams. This is not the case for everyone or necessarily for all winter sales. I purchased my last home in the winter months, and it was a very competitive market.

It may go without saying that the pandemic has created significant disruption in real estate norms, but somewhat surprisingly the province is not experiencing what one may refer to as a typical winter market so far.

This is the time of year when buyers would typically encounter fewer buyers in the market, however, we continue to hear about how active the market is across the GTA and in other select parts of Ontario. Salespeople and industry reports tell us that seller’s markets remain steady as pent up demand and the push for more space, to retreat during the pandemic, continue to stimulate sales in many areas of the province and fuel multiple offers on many properties.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at

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