As Real Estate Markets Evolve, Buying a Home Takes Longer

CalendarAre you thinking of buying a home? If you have already contacted a real estate professional, you probably thought about it for many months before finally making that first inquiry.

In fact, research by the California Association of Realtors shows that buyers today typically mull over thoughts of home ownership for nearly six months (23.7 weeks) before reaching out to a real estate professional for advice.

That’s a big jump from 2012, when the average time spent thinking about a home purchase was 12.2 weeks, and from 10 years ago, when homebuyers considered the matter for just 3.9 weeks before taking the plunge.

CAR says that buyers today are weighing their options more carefully than they did in years past because of the limited availability of homes for sale and the recent spike in prices across the state — and nation.

Today’s rapidly changing real estate markets make that first call to a real estate professional even more critical to a successful purchase. At Pacific Union, our professionals know the neighborhoods in their market inside and out — the best schools,  sales trends, and pricing patterns, as well as off-market listings and other bits of insider knowledge.

With a short supply of properties for sale, homebuyers today rarely get the first house on which they make an offer. In fact, CAR’s research found that 85 percent of buyers made offers on multiple homes, and one-third said they settled for the best option given the limited supply.

The top three reasons that buyers gave for finally inking a purchase agreement? Price decreases, a desire for a better location, and favorable financing.

Nearly half of homebuyers said that a shortage of desirable properties delayed their purchases. Others said they waited to see when prices would stabilize or had difficulty qualifying for a mortgage.

After all the searching and decision-making, buyers tended not to move far from their previous homes — a median distance of 27 miles from their last residence. Once there, buyers said they planned to stay in their home an average of six years.

And then the cycle will start all over again.

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