Home purchasing

Buyers viewed a record number of homes before buying in 2021

Of the eight median home buyers seen in 2021, three visited virtually, according to new analysis released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

Homebuyers who bought a home last year viewed a median of eight homes before buying – the lowest number since the National Association of Realtors began tracking the metric in 1987, according to the trade group .

In a blog post, NAR Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights Jessica Lautz set the foot record for low inventory and increased technology usage.

Dr. Jessica Lautz

“At their peak, buyers viewed 12 homes before buying in 2009 and 2011 as inventory was plentiful after the Great Recession,” Lautz wrote. “During the housing boom years, 2004 to 2006, homes moved at a rapid pace, but typically nine homes were visited.

“Limited housing inventory probably played a key role here. If there are few houses for sale in a price range, there are few houses to see. Based on November 2021 existing home sales data, there are only 1.1 million units for sale, down 13.3% from a year ago.

Additionally, of the eight homes buyers viewed, three were viewed solely online through virtual tours, virtual video tours, or virtual open houses.

“Homebuyers today have the ability to view homes online and quickly weed out what they want to see versus what can be thrown away,” Lautz wrote.

Today, 95% of buyers use the Internet to search for homes, up from 80% in 2006, and 51% are scouting their home online for the first time, up from 24% in 2006, according to NAR.

Lautz also suggested that technology and the bidding wars over scarce inventory have led to a shorter buying time for buyers. Listings generally attracted 3.8 offers in November, the trade group said.

“Buyers searched for just eight weeks before deciding which home to buy,” Lautz wrote. “From 2009 to 2013, buyers took their time and looked at homes for 12 weeks. As the houses moved at a slower pace, they could decide on a longer period and perhaps visit a house several times before making a contract. Buyers today don’t have that luxury and need to make quick decisions about which home to offer, as there’s likely another buyer ready to spring right behind them.

Still, Lautz pointed out that the shortage of inventory has affected buyers’ perception of the market.

“For some buyers who have signed multiple contracts and repeatedly lost bidding wars, [viewing eight homes] may seem like very little, but to others who have found limited housing inventory in their area, it may seem like a wide choice,” she wrote.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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