In 2021 the average home buyer viewed a median of eight homes before purchasing one, the lowest number on record.
That’s according to new research from the National Association of Realtors vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. She said in 2009 and 2011, the average buyer viewed a median of 12 homes before setting on one to buy.
At that time, of course, buyers had far more housing inventory to choose from. These days, inventory is far more limited, and there is also a lot more competition from other buyers. That’s likely caused many buyers to move fast when they find a home they like, leading to a reduction in the number of homes they view first, Lautz said.
The NAR reported last week that housing inventory hit yet another all-time low in December.
Technology is also helping home buyers narrow their search online before physically seeing properties, Lautz said.
“Home buyers today have the ability to view homes online and quickly weed out what they want to see versus what can be discarded,” she explained. “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 data.
Buyers may be viewing fewer homes because they’re speeding up their house hunts to better compete. They 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 added.