Active Home Buyers are Spending Significant Amounts of Time Looking for the Right Home


In the third quarter of 2018, 13% of adults in NAHB’s Housing Trends Report* poll report planning to purchase a home in the next 12 months.  Of that group, 46 percent are not merely planning it, they are already actively engaged in the search for the right home to buy.  And they are spending significant amounts of time looking.  In fact, 54% of those actively engaged in the process have been trying to find the right home for three months or longer.

Share Looking for a Home for 3 Months or Longer
(Percent of Active Home Buyers)

Why is it taking this long? The number one reason active home buyers gave in the third quarter of 2018 is they can’t find a home at a price they can afford (49%), followed by not being able to find a home with the desired set of features (40%). Not far behind, 38% can’t find a home in the right neighborhood.

Reason Active Buyers Have Been Unsuccessful Finding a Home to Buy for 3+ Months
(Percent of Active Home Buyers)

And finally, a critical question: what are these veteran house hunters, who have already actively looked for at least three months, going to do if their dream house remains elusive in the months ahead?

  • 61% will continue looking for the ‘right’ home in the same preferred location,
  • 37% will expand the search area,
  • 23% is willing to accept a smaller/older home,
  • 16% might buy a more expensive home

One option that is not in the cards for most of them: giving up.  Only 18% will stop trying to find a home.

Next Steps if Still Unable to Find Home in Months Ahead
(Percent of Prospective Home Buyers Who Have Been Looking for 3+ Months)

* The Housing Trends Report (HTR) 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 caution is advised when interpreting trends or comparing time periods.  A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the fourth and last post highlighting results for the third quarter of 2018.  See previous posts on plans to buy, housing availability, and housing affordability.

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