A buyers' or sellers' market: understanding the differences

In a balanced real estate market, buyers and sellers are on equal footing when it comes to negotiating. In other words, the number of properties offered for sale is neither too low nor too high in relation to the number of buyers.

However, the market is not always in balance. There are situations where the market may be more favourable to buyers than sellers or vice versa.

In this article, you will find the definitions of a buyers' market and a sellers' market, the main differences between the two and how to take advantage of them.

What is a buyers' and sellers' market?

A buyer's market is characterized by a high inventory of properties for sale compared to the number of buyers. Conversely, a seller's market is characterized by a low number of properties for sale compared to the number of buyers.

This imbalance, on one side or the other, impacts the market in several ways.

The differences between a buyers' and sellers' market

The number of properties on the market compared to the number of buyers influences, among other things, the price of the properties, the time it takes to sell the properties and the negotiating power.

The differences between a buyers' and sellers' market

Buyers' Market Sellers' Market
  • The supply of properties is high relative to the number of buyers, a favorable environment for buyers.
  • With the high supply, properties stay on the market longer.
  • Buyers have the negotiating power as sellers will be willing to make some compromises to sell faster.
  • Property prices rise more slowly or may tend to decrease.
  • The supply of properties is low relative to the number of buyers, a favourable context for sellers.
  • Because buyers are competing, properties sell quickly.
  • Sellers often receive several offers or know that they can sell quickly, so the negotiating power is in their hands.
  • As a result, property prices tend to rise.

Winning in a buyer's market

When buyers are faced with a large inventory of properties, it is difficult for a seller to stand out from the crowd.

The best way to sell a property when the market is favourable to buyers is to make it as attractive as possible and to maximize its visibility:

  • Fixing eye-catching imperfections.
  • Making major renovations to remove that turn off for buyers.
  • Cleaning, decluttering and purifying to help buyers project themselves.
  • Updating the decor to appeal to buyers.
  • Maintaining the exterior of the property to give a good first impression.
  • Taking professional photos to attract attention from the start.
  • And so on.

To learn more, read our article on how to successfully sell your property.

Competing in a sellers' market

In recent years, the real estate market in Quebec, and in most of Canada, has become a market highly favourable to sellers. Not only is access to property more difficult because of rising prices, but buyers are in strong competition to find the property that suits them.

Here are some tips for standing out in a competitive market:

  • Making sure your financing is pre-approved.
  • Knowing the maximum amount you can offer without regret based on your financial capabilities.
  • Knowing exactly what you want: make a list of specific criteria.
  • Being prepared to act first and make decisions quickly.
  • Writing a letter or making a video to show sellers how interested you are in their property.

Whether you are selling or buying a property, the expertise of a real estate broker will be your best asset to ensure the successful marketing of your property or to get your hands on the house of your dreams.