A growing segment of prospective home buyers aren’t moving past the planning stage. At its peak in mid-2021, 61% were actively trying to find a home to buy. Now, the share is back to pre-pandemic levels, at 46%. This is clear evidence that higher mortgage rates and double-digit growth in home prices are discouraging a growing share of buyers from engaging in the purchase process.
Fewer buyers in every region are actively searching for a home. From peak to now, the share dropped in the Northeast (72% to 50%), Midwest (51% to 40%), South (58% to 48%), and West (72% to 46%).
Of the buyers who are actively searching for a home to buy, most are spending 3+ months looking. In the first quarter of 2022, 67% of active buyers had spent upwards of 3 months searching for a home. Before the pandemic (between the first quarters of 2018 and 2020), fewer than 60% of active buyers shopped for a home for 3+ months.
**Results come from the Housing Trends Report (HTR) – 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 seasonally adjusted. A description of the poll’s methodology and sample characteristics can be found here. This is the fifth in a series of six posts highlighting results for the 1st quarter of 2022. See previous posts on plans to buy and new vs. existing preference, housing availability, and housing affordability.