Time Spent Searching for a Home is Rising


Of the 11% of American adults considering a home purchase in the final quarter of 2019, only 43% reported being actively engaged in the process to find and buy a home.  A year earlier, the comparable share of active buyers was a much stronger 54%.  This finding suggests that mortgage interest rates steadily below 4.0% in recent months have not motivated more prospective buyers to get started trying to find a home to buy.

Across generations, 46% of Millennial prospective buyers are actively looking for a home to buy, along with 43% of Gen X buyers, 41% of Gen Z buyers, and 37% of Boomer buyers.  Across regions, prospective buyers in the Northeast are the most likely to already be actively searching for a home (49%), followed by those in the South (43%), West (41%), and Midwest (39%).

Results from the latest Housing Trends Report also show that the time active home buyers are spending searching for a home is rising.  In the final quarter of 2019, 60% of actively engaged buyers reported having spent at least 3 months searching, compared to 58% a year earlier.  This marks the fourth consecutive year-over-year gain in the share of active buyers who have spent upwards of 3 months looking for a home to buy.  This trend is closely related to persistently low levels of inventory of new and existing homes for-sale.

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

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