These Are Home Buyers' Top Reasons for Pausing Their Home Searches, a Survey Shows

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 15, 2021

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Are you ready to give up on your home search? If so, you're not alone.

If you've been looking for a home to buy for quite some time, you may be ready to throw in the towel. And if that's the case, you're in good company. A recent Opendoor survey of 850 people found that today's buyers have several reasons for hitting pause on their home searches. Here are the top factors driving buyers to take a step back.

1. Uncertainty about COVID-19

For 39% of buyers, uncertainty relating to the pandemic is making them rethink their plans or put those plans on hold. The reality is that cases have been surging in recent weeks thanks to the Delta variant, and we don't know if more cities and states will need to impose restrictions to combat that. (Some already have.) If more restrictions are put into place, it could result in job loss. So if you work in an industry that's likely to be impacted, you, too, may want to pause your home search.

2. An intimidating real estate market

A good 35% of buyers are thinking of pulling back given how intimidating today's housing market is. And that's understandable, as home prices have soared on a national level. If you run the numbers and find that you can't comfortably afford a home today, then pausing your search makes sense. The general rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30% of your take-home pay on housing. So if today's home prices would put you over that threshold with a mortgage and other housing expenses, then it's worth backing down.

3. A lack of available homes

It's not surprising that 24% of buyers cite a lack of available homes as a reason to stop their searches. Housing inventory is extremely limited these days. Waiting for more homes to hit the market could allow you to find a place that better meets your needs.

4. Not being sure where to move

A solid 24% of potential buyers haven't decided where they want to live after selling their homes, so they're pulling back on their home searches. If you're in a similar boat, you may want to sit tight as well. It's important to have a plan on the home-buying front, and if you're wishy-washy on your target city or neighborhood, you could end up spinning your wheels.

5. Frustration from losing out on homes due to the competition

For 22% of buyers, losing properties to other buyers has made them pause their searches. In today's market, bidding wars have become extremely common. If you'd rather not engage in them (and potentially pay more for a home as a result), then you, too, may want to wait.

If you're having a hard time finding a suitable home in today's market, then holding off on your search could make sense. There's a good chance mortgage rates will stay low for quite some time, so if you don't end up buying a place of your own this year, there's no reason to think you won't be able to lock in an affordable mortgage at some point in 2022. And by then, we could see more homes hit the market, which will make it easier to navigate the home-buying process.

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