What Is A Balanced Market & How Does It Affect Buyers And Sellers?

What Is A Balanced Market & How Does It Affect Buyers And Sellers?

You’ve probably heard the buzzword, “balanced market,” when people have been forecasting the real estate market. However, you might not be entirely sure of the meaning of this phrase. What, exactly, is a balanced market, and how will it affect you? Why do you need a real estate agent to guide you in successful buying or selling?

Paul Rushforth answers your questions about the impact of balanced housing markets on both sellers and buyers.

What Is A Balanced Market In Real Estate?

In Ottawa, a balanced market is when we have 4 to 6 months of inventory (MOI) of homes for sale. That means if no other homes hit the market, it would take 4-6 months to sell all the properties currently available. Homes sell for reasonable amounts in balanced markets, relatively close to the asking prices.

Contrast that with seller’s markets, where inventory is limited, and new listings sell fast, usually above asking, or buyer’s markets, where there is an oversupply of active listings.

A balanced market is due to several factors, such as:

  • Interest rates on mortgages
  • Amount of new housing construction
  • Employment and immigration
  • Inflation

The result is a balance between supply and demand.

How Does A Balanced Market Affect Buyers And Sellers?

In a balanced housing market, buyers have more opportunities. They might look at five or six homes, maybe take a break for a couple of days, then go look at five or six more. That’s possible in a balanced market because homes aren’t flying off the shelf.

On the other hand, sellers need to do their due diligence to get their homes ready for sale.

In a seller’s market, you could throw in an ugly house on the market, and it would sell overnight… but that’s not going to happen in a more balanced market. If your home shows well, though, it will still sell quickly.

So a balanced housing market is a win-win for both sides.

What Are Some Strategies For Buyers Or Sellers In A Balanced Market?


Buyers, if you see a place that looks like your dream home, great. You have time to talk it over with your agent and make sure it really is your dream; you also have the opportunity to put conditions in your offer. Those “subject to inspection” or “subject to financing” clauses just don’t work in a crazy seller’s market, as we had in Ottawa in the first months of 2021. When you as a buyer are looking at a bidding war, with multiple offers pouring in, you’ll lose the house if you don’t act fast. In a balanced real estate market, there’s less urgency.


Sellers, make sure your house stands out from the crowd. Major renovations are not necessary, but you do need to take care of basic maintenance:

  • Declutter (it will make your house look larger)
  • Get your yard in shape
  • Replace any light fixtures that are not working
  • Paint

Why Do Buyers & Sellers Need A Real Estate Agent In A Balanced Market?

A balanced real estate market is really where the best agents show what they’ve got and use it to help you.

If you’re selling in a balanced market, we will help you price your home right, prepare the best marketing plan and market your house to generate as much interest as possible. And if you’re buying, we will show you multiple homes, find the right property for you, and then use our negotiating skills to get the most amount of money off the price and the best terms on the deal.

It’s important to work with real estate professionals who will sense when we’re facing a balanced market and know how to deal with that, not someone who sells one house every two months.

An agent who’s part of a truly professional team, like Paul Rushforth Real Estate, gets a ton of training and a ton of education on the market. Our awareness comes from a lot of experience and many transactions, dealing with dozens of buyers and sellers every day. And we’ll use that awareness to get the best deal for you.


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