NAHB: Share of active homebuyers spikes in third quarter

It’s a challenging housing market across the country, but that apparently hasn’t stopped many people from fully jumping into the buyer pool — at least prospectively, anyway.

That’s one of the takeaways of the third-quarter 2022 Housing Trends Report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). An associated survey found that 59% of prospective buyers have gone from the planning stages of homebuying and have “become fully engaged in the buying process,” according to the NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.

This share is up from 46% in the opening three months of this year and up from 49% in the second quarter. Even with mortgage rates above 7% and home prices still sky-high (although waning), the percentage of prospects actively trying to buy a home is now hovering near recent highs reached during the boom period of early 2021. The figure peaked at 61% in the second quarter of last year but had fallen for three straight quarters since before reversing the trend in Q2 2022.

Interestingly, of the 15% of adults who plan to buy a home within the next 12 months, 66% are first-time buyers (a record high). The new peak follows three straight quarters of declines in the shares of prospective first-time homebuyers. The figure had fallen below 60% in Q2 2022.

The rebound is notable considering recent data showing that while the share of interested first-timers may be on the uptick, would-be new homeowners appear to be finding it increasingly harder to actually purchase homes. The National Association of Realtors revealed this week that the share of purchases made by first-time homebuyers fell to its lowest point since the early 1980s.

And the NAHB data also shows that buyers, first-time and otherwise, are having to search longer before making a purchase. A record 70% of active homebuyers spent at least three months looking for a home in the third quarter, up from 63% one quarter prior and up from a previous pandemic-era high of 67% in fourth-quarter 2020.


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