Fewer than Half of Prospective Buyers Are Actively Looking for a Home


An NAHB poll* of American adults in the third quarter of 2019 revealed that 12% are planning a home purchase in the next 12 months.  Of that group, 44% are already actively engaged in the process of finding a home to buy, a smaller share than a year earlier when 47% of prospective buyers were engaged in the search process.  This finding suggests that the lowest mortgage rates in the past three years did not lead more prospective home buyers to become actively engaged in the process of looking for a home.

Across generations, over 40% of each group moved beyond just planning and were already searching in the third quarter of 2019.  Geographically, prospective buyers in the Northeast are the most likely to be actively looking for a home (50%), followed by those in the West (45%), South (43%), and Midwest (40%).

Buyers who were actively engaged in the search for a home were also asked about the number of months they have spent looking.  In the third quarter of 2019, 58% had been at it for at least three months, slightly higher than the 55% reporting that length of time a year earlier.  Meanwhile, the share of these active buyers searching for less than three months dropped from 45% to 42% during this period.

* 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 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 fourth in a series of five posts highlighting results for the third quarter of 2019.  See previous posts on plans to buy, housing availability, and housing affordability.

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