NAHB: Price woes lengthen home search for many buyers

A large share of buyers has been hunting for the right home for three months or longer, according to recent polling by the National Association of Home Builders.

Rose Quint shared the results of the survey on the NAHB blog Eye on Housing. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they had been house hunting for at least three months, while the remaining 39 percent had been searching for less than three months.

NAHB says it regularly conducts national polls to better understand trends in the housing industry. The survey on home searches was fielded to adults who were planning to buy a home within the next 12 months. The results of the poll, along with other surveys, were presented at the 2018 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla.

Home prices were the reason for most respondents' lengthy home searches. Forty-two percent said they had not been able to find a home at a price they could afford.

The survey reflects findings from the National Association of Realtors, which issues an update on existing home sales in the United States each month. The organization says the tighter inventory of available homes for sale has helped drive up competition and prices, with the median price for an existing home increasing year-over-year for the 70th straight month in December.

The next most common reason that buyers in the NAHB poll had not purchased a home within three months was that they had not found a property with the features they wanted, a reason cited by 36 percent of respondents. Thirty-four percent said they had not found a home in the neighborhood they wanted, and 27 percent said they were outbid whenever they made an offer. Twenty-two percent said other reasons had caused their home search to lengthen to three months or more.

Other polls issued by the NAHB looked at attitudes toward tiny homes—those measuring 600 square feet or less—and self-driving cars. In the tiny home poll, 28 percent said they would be interested in buying such a diminutive residence and 25 percent said they might be interested. Respondents were less likely to desire a tiny home as they got older, with 63 percent of Millennials saying they would or might be interested in buying a tiny home, compared to only 29 percent of seniors.

A similar trend was observed in the self-driving car study, with 59 percent saying they would be interested in buying a fully autonomous vehicle or consider doing so if a safe and reliable model was developed in their lifetime. The share jumped to 71 percent among Millennials and 66 percent for Generation X, but stood at only 45 percent for Baby Boomers and 36 percent for seniors.

NAHB said one possible effect of self-driving cars on the housing market would be that people would consider living farther away from work. Sixty-three percent said they would consider buying a home with a longer commute if they didn't have to do the driving tasks themselves. This included 60 percent of Millennials and Generation X, but only 18 perecnt of senior respondents.

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