Stress, detoured choices persist among homebuyers

Low inventory has been an obstinate thorn in the side of would-be homebuyers over the last few years, and according to TD Bank’s latest Mortgage Service Index poll, the persistent shortage has made a definite difference in their choices.

The index survey picked the brains of more than 1,800 homeowners who bought their home in the last decade, asking them about how various different facets of the housing market and homebuying process affected their experience. Of respondents who purchased a home within the last two years, 32% said that limited inventory had a negative impact on the process of buying a home.

As a result, such buyers often had to adjust their expectations and goals during their home search. Those adjustments included opting for a starter home rather than a more long-term residence, with 41% of respondents who purchased in the last two years planning to stay in their homes for five years or fewer. With resale options limited, others ended up choosing a newly built home; 43% of respondents who bought in the last two years purchased via new construction. Of those buyers, 69% took out a construction loan to make their purchase.

Even as supply has shown signs of recovery, inventory remains low, helping keep home prices elevated and continuing to cause plenty of anxiety for homebuyers. Twenty-six percent of survey participants indicated that their most recent buying experience was “extremely stressful” or “very stressful.”

Interestingly, despite the homebuying surge of the last few years, TD Bank’s poll found that mortgage education remains lacking among those looking to purchase. Per the survey, 39% of homebuyers weren’t familiar with any mortgage affordability programs. Perhaps partially as a result, nearly half of homebuyers — including 62% of millennials — accumulated more than $2,000 in unexpected expenses, up from 30% in TD Bank’s pre-pandemic survey in 2019.


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