Share of Home Buyers Getting Outbid Almost Doubles

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An earlier post revealed that 62% of buyers who were actively engaged in the process of finding a home in the third quarter of 2020 have spent upwards of 3 months searching for a home without success. Although the top reason long-time searchers haven’t pulled the trigger continues to be the inability to find an affordable home (38%), that share is lower than a year ago (45%). In contrast, the share who blame it on getting outbid by higher offers from other buyers almost doubled in the last year, from 15% to 27%.

When asked what they’ll do next if still unable to find a home in the next few months, 26% of these veteran house hunters say they’ll buy a more expensive home than originally intended, three times the share with that strategy a year earlier (9%). The share who will expand their search area is also higher, up from 35% to 43%, which is consistent with findings showing increased home building in lower-density markets. The one thing long-term active buyers are less likely to do than a year ago is continue looking for the ‘right’ home in the same preferred location, down from 52% to 47%.

Difficulties finding a home to buy is having another consequence: more buyers are choosing to wait until next year or later to try again. In the third quarter of 2020, 20% of long-term active buyers said they would give up, compared to 15% a year earlier. The increase marks the third consecutive year-over-year gain in the share of buyers who are likely to quit searching for a home until the inventory situation improves.

* The Housing Trends Report is a research product created by the NAHB Economics team with the goal of measuring prospective home buyers’ perceptions about the availability and affordability of homes for-sale in their markets. The HTR is produced quarterly to track changes in buyers’ perceptions over time. All data are derived from national polls of representative samples of American adults conducted for NAHB by Morning Consult. Results are not seasonally adjusted due to the short time horizon of the series and therefore only year-over-year comparisons are statistically valid. A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the fifth and final in a series of posts highlighting results for the third quarter of 2020. See previous posts on plans to buy, housing availability, housing affordability, and active buyers.



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