It is often billed as the most important and
consequential financial decision a household can makes, so it probably follows
that buying a home should not be a quick one. Findings from the National Association
of Home Builders’ (NAHB’s) Housing Trends Survey Report indicate that
prospective home buyers take the decision seriously. They are also apparently willing to take
In its fourth and final report derived from the third
quarter survey, NAHB analyst Rose Quint says that 13 percent of those polled
indicated they intend to buy a home in the next 12 months and of those, almost
half (46 percent) have already begun the search. Of those, 54 percent have been trying to find
the right home for at least three months.
This is a smaller share of long-term “lookers” than the
survey found at the end of last year, and while Quint does not address the
issue, we wonder if it could be the result of the growing inventories and slower
sales indicated in recent new and existing home sales reports from the Census
Bureau and the National Association of Realtors (NAR.)
the number indicates that home buying is a protracted event and NAHB asked
respondents why it was taking so long.
The number one reason given was the difficulty finding a home at a price
the buyer could afford. This was
followed by responses that were essentially variations on the same theme; they
are unable to find a home with the desired features, or in the right
neighborhood, or because of the competitive nature of homebuying.
But they are
a hardy and determined bunch. When those
who have been in the hunt for three months or more were asked what they
intended to do if the right house remains elusive, 61 percent said they would
continue the pursuit in their preferred location while 37 percent said they
would expand the area in which they were willing to live. Slightly less than one quarter were open to
buying a smaller or older home while 16 percent indicated they would raise
their price target. Only 18 percent said
they will give up trying to buy a home.