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Number of Homes a Buyer Views Hits Record Low

In 2021, the average homebuyer viewed a median of eight homes before making an offer – and three of those showings were done virtually online.

CHICAGO – Last year, homebuyers viewed a median of eight homes before purchasing – the lowest number on record, according to new research from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). That’s fewer than in 2009 and 2011, when housing inventory was more plentiful and buyers viewed a median of 12 homes before buying, notes Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights.

The even-more limited housing inventory in 2020 coupled with increased buyer competition likely played a big role in the home-showing drop, with NAR’s December housing report finding that inventory had reached an all-time low.

Technology also likely played a role, since homebuyers can narrow their search online before physically seeing properties, Lautz says.

“Homebuyers today have the ability to view homes online and quickly weed out what they want to see versus what can be discarded,” she says. “Buyers can walk through virtual tours, view videos, see detailed photos in a way that 2006 technology did not allow.”

Among the median eight homes viewed by buyers, three were viewed online only with the help of virtual and video tours as well as virtual open houses, according to NAR.

Buyers may be viewing fewer homes because they’re speeding up their house hunts to better compete. Buyers searched for just eight weeks before deciding on a home to purchase last year, down from more than 12 weeks between 2009 and 2013.

“Buyers today do not have that luxury and need to make fast decisions on which home to place an offer on, as there is likely another buyer ready to pounce right behind them,” Lautz says.

Source: “Home Buyers Narrow Home Search With Technology,” National Association of Realtors® Economists’ Outlook blog (Jan. 18, 2022)

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