Homebuyers are seeing longer house hunts; here’s what they plan to do about it

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

The months-long house hunt

Active homebuyers are seeing longer house hunts than they were a year ago. According to new data, more than half have been searching for at least three months or longer.

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Homebuyers are looking longer

According to the Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Home Builders, 55 percent of homebuyers have been looking for a house for at least three months or more. That’s up from 53 percent last quarter and 54 percent a year ago.

Survey data shows it’s largely home prices that are holding buyers back.  A full half of buyers say they’ve been unable to find a house at a price they can afford — up from 45 percent who said the same last year.

New forecast: 65% of homes will sell below list price this quarter

After that, buyers also cited being unable to find a home in their ideal neighborhood or one with the features they want.

Bidding wars are down, but will the trend continue?

Moving forward

So what’s the next step for these would-be homebuyers? More than 60 percent say they’ll stay the course, while 36 percent say they’ll expand their search area to increase their options. Other homebuyers say they’ll resign themselves to a smaller, older or more expensive house.

Some might even give up on homeownership altogether.

As Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research, explains, “Giving up on homeownership until next year or later is the likeliest next step for only 16 percent of those searching for a home for three-plus months, the exact same share as a year ago. Future polls will determine if this propensity will shift based on the changing dynamics of the housing market.”

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