About half of the people who were looking for a home in the first quarter had been searching for three months or longer without success, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
The No. 1 roadblock was high prices, cited by 46%, followed by not being able to find the right property in the neighborhood of choice, cited by 40%, NAHB said in a report based on a survey of 15,401 people conducted during March.
Of those unsuccessful house hunters, 51% said they are going to keep looking, using their existing criteria. About 41% said they would expand their search area, 30% said they would shift their standards to accept a smaller or older home than they had hoped for, and 21% said they planned to raise their budget to find a more expensive home.
Only 14% said they planned to give up on plans to buy a home, down from 16% in the year-earlier quarter, the report showed.
Southerners were the most likely to give up in the first quarter — they came in at 17%. About 13% of unsuccessful home searchers in the Northeast said they would give up, followed by 11% in the Midwest and 10% in the West, the report said.
About 60% of prospective home buyers in the first quarter were first-time buyers. A year earlier, the share was 54%, the NAHB report said.
By region, the biggest share of home searchers who were first-timers was in the Northeast, at 67%, followed by the South, at 62%, the Midwest at 58% and the West at 55%, according to the report.
About 41% of home shoppers wanted to buy an existing home, 22% wanted a new home, and 38% said they would buy either one. The younger the buyer, the more desirable a new home was, according to the report. About 25% of Millenials wanted a new home, followed by 21% of GenXers, and 15% for Baby Boomers and Seniors.
The NAHB report defined Millennials as born between 1980 and 2000; GenXers between 1965 and 1979; Boomers between 1946 and 1964, and Seniors as 1945 or earlier.