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The Look at the Home Search Process Over 35 Years

We dug into our historical records to look at how long home buyers have searched for the homes they purchased over the years and the number of homes they viewed during that process. Our main finding was that despite major changes in the housing market, ups and downs in the economy, and the advent of the digital age, home buyers searched for roughly the same amount of time and looked at the same number of houses in more than three decades. The differences were only a few weeks, not years, and a couple of homes, not hours spent on the search. Let’s look at the minor fluctuations that have occurred.

The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report was first launched in 1981. In the 1980’s—1990’s, it was conducted only every two years. By 2004, the survey was conducted every year accompanied by its annual release, marking the report as one of the most popular and insightful research studies on the home buying and selling market from the perspective of consumers.

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Decade Trends

  • For most of the 1990’s, home buyers searched for a median of two months; they looked at 12 homes in the early ‘90’s and 10 homes by the end of the decade.
  • For a majority of the 2000’s, home buyers still searched only two months; by 2009—2010 they were looking for nearly three months. During that decade, home buyers looked at a median of 10 homes for most years, with a slight dip to nine homes during 2004—2006.
  • During the 2010’s, home buyers look for homes for 12 weeks until 2014 and 2015 when it bumped back down to only 10 weeks. At the beginning of the decade, buyers looked at a median of 12 homes. In the last four years, they looked at only 10 homes.
  • 2004—2006 home buyers searched for eight weeks and looked at nine homes, the shortest period of time according to the report.
  • 2009—2011 buyers searched for 12 weeks and looked at 12 homes, the longest search time according to the report.

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