Roughly 56% of homebuyers reported being actively engaged in the purchasing process during the first quarter of 2023, up from 46% a quarter earlier, the National Association of Home Builders' Eye on Housing reports. The share of prospective buyers who are actively searching for a home increased in every region between the final quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, and that spur of fresh activity is likely a result of improved affordability expectations.
Mortgage rate hikes are slowing, and in some overheated metro areas, home prices are falling, but while greater housing affordability means more purchasing opportunities for prospective buyers, competition is heating up for available homes.
Improved affordability, however, has intensified demand and increased competition. Buyers actively looking for a home are having a harder time finding what they want. In the first quarter of 2023, a series high of 71% have spent 3+ months searching, up from 65% a quarter earlier.