Don’t let House Hunters fool you. People typically don’t look at three houses and then sit down with a colorful, fruity drink to pick their favorite. Usually, there are many more houses viewed and it takes a much longer time to make a decision. But how long it takes and how many houses the typical buyers look at has varied throughout the years.
That’s why the National Association of Realtors and its Economists’ Outlook blog decided to take a more in-depth look at the home search process over the past 35 years. Surprisingly, despite fluctuations in the economy, changes in the housing market, and the application of new technology to the homebuying process, search times and the number of homes looked at has not varied all that much.
The shortest search period over the past 35 years came between 2004 and 2006 when homebuyers had an average search of eight weeks and looked at nine homes. The longest search period came between 2009 and 2011 when buyers searched for 12 weeks and looked at 12 homes.
For the entire 35-year period, the number of weeks searched fell between 7 and 12 and the number of homes viewed was between 9 and 12. These fluctuations are not nearly as large as what might be expected considering how much has changed between the mid-eighties and now.