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(Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail/Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)
(Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail/Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

Toronto home sellers are in a January state of mind Add to ...

Why do people list their houses and condos for sale in the depths of January?

One good reason is that they’re trying to sell on a busy street. Canny agents will advise listing such a property during the coldest time of the year because buyers are less likely to open the windows and hear the streetcar rumbling by or noise from cars whizzing along the highway.

Other catalysts include death and divorce, but if sellers have the option of waiting for better spring weather, they usually do. For the past several years, agents have been lamenting that more sellers don’t list in February when house hunters feel rejuvenated after the traditional market break during the holidays and can’t wait to get out and look again.

This year, there are early signs that sellers are listening to the agents who are pressing them to just yank the small appliances off the counter and get a “for sale” sign in the lawn. New properties began to trickle onto the market this week - and they’re not all on busy streets.

And sellers may have more reasons to listen this year: The latest numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show that the run-up in sales and prices is losing steam in Toronto. The Bank of Canada stood pat on its trend-setting interest rate this week.

Meanwhile, some banks dropped their mortgage rates to historic new lows last week and that action is likely to galvanize some potential buyers who will decide to grab the low rate while they can.

Risks to the Toronto housing market include an uncertain outlook for the U.S. and Canadian economies, a dwindling number of buyers who can afford the current lofty prices, and high consumer debt loads that could push a horde of homeowners to sell.

Are more sellers heeding the advice of agents and listing early this year? It’s too soon to know for sure, but it will be interesting to see if the trickle turns into a torrent over the next few weeks.

Join the discussion: How do you think the real estate market will play out in Toronto this year?

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