Share of Home Buyers Getting Outbid Almost Doubles


An earlier post revealed that 69% of buyers who were actively engaged in the process of finding a home in the final quarter of 2020 have spent upwards of 3 months searching for a home without success. For the first time in this series history, the number one reason long-time searchers haven’t made a home purchase is not because of their inability to find an affordably-priced home (33%), but because they continue to get outbid by other offers (40%). The reasons are flipped from a year earlier, when 44% cited unaffordable prices and only 19% better offers by other buyers.

When asked what they’ll do next if still unable to find a home in the next few months, 50% of active buyers searching for 3+ months will continue looking for the ‘right’ home in the same location and 38% will expand their search area, both about the same shares as a year earlier. The most significant changes between the final quarters of 2019 and 2020 come in the shares likely to give up until next year or later (16% to 28%), to buy a more expensive home (16% to 27%), and to accept a smaller/older home (19% to 28%).

Importantly, historical data show a steadily rising trend in the share of long-term searchers likely to quit looking for a home until next year or later, as the latest increase marks the fourth year-over-year rise in this metric.

* 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 sixth in a series of six posts highlighting results for the fourth quarter of 2020. See previous posts on plans to buy, new vs. existing preference, housing availability, housing affordability, and active buyers.

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