In 2021, homebuyers who successfully purchased a home viewed a median of only eight properties before completing their transaction, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors, published on Tuesday.
NAR Research has tracked the number of homes viewed since 1987 and eight is the lowest number on record. Right after the Great Recession, between 2009 and 2011, buyers viewed a median of 12 homes before purchasing, as inventory was plentiful. From 2004 to 2006, during the housing boom years, even though homes were moving at a rapid pace, buyers typically looked at nine homes.
According to NAR, low inventory is partly to blame for the homebuyers looking at fewer homes than before. In December, housing inventory dropped below 1 million units for the first time on record and at the current sales pace there is only a 1.8 month’s supply of homes.
Besides inventory constraints, the NAR feels that technology has also contributed to the decrease in the number of homes buyers view before completing their purchase.
Today, homebuyers have more and more ways to view houses online. They can view high-resolution photos, view videos and go on virtual tours. The study found that among the eight homes viewed by buyers, three were viewed only online through virtual or video tours, or virtual open houses.
In 2006, 80% of buyers said that they used the internet to search for homes, with 24% of buyers first spotting their eventual home online. In 2021, 95% of buyers use online tools to look for houses, with 51% reporting that they found their eventual home online.
Low inventory and increased use of technology has also most likely played a role in the number of weeks a buyer spends searching for a new home. From 2009 to 2013, buyers spent more than 12 weeks looking for a home, but in 2021, they searched for just eight weeks, according to NAR.