I hear this debate often. Often people think the spring is better, or the fall is better and people base life decisions (moving) based on what they perceive to be the best time to Buy or Sell. There are pros and cons to any time of year, which I will lay out and you can judge for yourself.
Spring Market - It's great for Buyers as there is usually more inventory because Sellers generally believe this is the best time to list so the amount of new listings available goes up. People love choice, so Buyers usually perceive this to be one of the best times to Buy. On the flip side, since many Buyers believe this, there is more competition for the available homes. Some working knowledge of Supply and Demand tell us that if competition increases, then so does the prices. That's exactly what we see here in Saskatoon. Buyers start competing for homes, multiple offer situations occur, and prices go up. So this is a great time for Sellers then? The answer isn't so easy. Yes, the prices are going up and you'll get more money for your home, but at that same time, as your home sells, you become the Buyer and have to deal with increased prices and competition.
I always like to point out the other added benefit of conducting your home search in the spring. As I alluded to in another blog post about Home Inspection Limitations, in the Spring, you can generally inspect the entire property, plus you get the added benefit of detecting any potential moisture issues with the basement. If a basement moisture issue is going to rear it's ugly head, it will generally be in the Spring!
Another great benefit of buying in the Spring is you get to move in nicer weather. The process goes a lot smoother with no snow being tracked into your new home.
Fall Market - Essentially the reverse of the above is all true for the Fall market. Prices tend to level off as people may start pulling their houses "off for the winter". I personally think this is a great time to buy since you know that anyone that does have their house for sale is a serious Seller and they may be willing to negotiate on price a bit more versus a Seller in the Spring. As a Seller, if curb appeal isn't your home's strong suit, listing in the fall/winter may be beneficial for you because the snow will hide a lot of your yard. When I bought my current home, it was in the winter and I wasn't able to really view the back yard. To my surprise, once the snow had disappeared, I suddenly had a beautifully manicured yard that I was oblivious to!
In Saskatoon's hot market, homes sell all year round. There are pros and cons to Buying or Selling at any time. In my opinion, the best time to Buy or Sell, is when it makes sense to you financially and when it is least inconvenient. Kids in school, summer and winter holidays, jobs, etc. all should factor in on your decision much more than the time of year.