Is Ontario Almost Entirely a Sellers’ Market?

Real Estate News / Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

By: Zoocasa

Ontario is either almost entirely advantaged toward the seller, or balanced, according to the latest data from Zoocasa.

That means the sales-to-new listings ratio (SLNR) exceeds 60 per cent in 12 Ontarian cities. A sales-to-listings ratio of 40 to 60 per cent is considered balanced, and below that range it becomes a buyers’ market.

“While the SNLR doesn’t always reflect how affordable a market is, it can offer valuable hints on how a market has changed over the long or short term, and whether or not it’s an advantageous time to list or purchase a home,” writes Penelope Graham, managing editor at Zoocasa.

What is a Sellers’ Market?

A sellers’ market isn’t necessarily expensive, although it does indicate support for rising prices. More importantly, it is a metric of competitiveness, indicating more demand than supply. In a sellers’ market, buyers are forced to work harder to find an appropriate property, and may be pushed into bidding wars or leaving financing and home inspection conditions off their offer. It can also mean few houses ever come up for sale.

The top four sellers’ markets all have homes that average under $250,000: Thunder Bay, North Bay, Sudbury and Sault St. Marie, all have SLNR ratios that top 85 per cent. These markets were also sellers markets last year, but their ratios have creeped up, indicating increased competitiveness.

The Top Sellers’ Markets in Ontario

Cities in southwestern Ontario make up most of the rest of the list of the top 10 sellers markets, with houses averaging around $300,000-$500,000. Ratios exceeding 66 per cent for Kitchener homes for sale, London and Windsor, although many markets have decreased in competitiveness from last year. The ratio for  homes for sale in London, Ontario, for example, dropped to 78 per cent from 90 per cent year over year. More supply may have come onto the market with sellers deciding to cash out their rising home values, or demand may have waned due to tighter mortgage lending rules and increased interest rates.

Four additional markets reverted this year to balanced from sellers: Hamilton, Halton Hills, Brantford and Niagara Region.

Meanwhile, only three markets in Ontario benefit the buyer: Barrie, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.  Last year, amid market uncertainty months following the Fair Housing Plan, there were double the number of buyers markets.

Three of those: Oakville, Newmarket and Markham have returned to balanced territory.

This metric changes monthly so keep an eye out on future updates from Zoocasa.


Zoocasa.comis a real estate company that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse homes across Canada on the website or the free iOS app.


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