A real estate agent walks with a young couple through a large yard outside a suburban home.

Survey: Buyers are putting their home search on hold 

In a Bright MLS poll, most agents said they recently worked with a buyer who gave up on finding a home, but many still expect buyer activity to remain high.

May 25, 2024
3 minutes

The housing market is anything but predictable right now. While spring and summer are typically the hottest time for buying and selling, this year is already shaping up to be an unconventional one, with a recent survey from Bright MLS finding that agents are feeling the chill. 

More buyers are quitting their home search: The Bright study, which includes survey results from more than 1,000 agents, found that the majority — 73% of those surveyed — said they had a client pause their home search in the last six months. High borrowing costs have remained a hurdle to buyers, but agents also indicated that their buyers are having a difficult time remaining competitive against others bringing more cash to the table. 

On average, those who made it all the way to the closing table in April bid on nearly three different homes before finding the right one, agents reported. 

Buyers are spending months on their home search: Faced with affordability challenges and multiple offer situations, many buyers have spent six months or more trying to find a home. 

While roughly 27% of agents surveyed said their buyers only spent 1-2 months on their search, another 28% said their buyers were shopping for 3-6 months, and 24% reported that their clients spent more than six months searching for a home. 

Sellers are happy, overall: Buyers may be feeling frustrated, but nearly 84% of agents surveyed said their sellers were satisfied with the price they got on their April home sale. 

Still, not all sellers were successful: 32% of agents said they worked with a seller who ultimately decided not to sell. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the primary reason agents listed for sellers getting cold feet was the difficulty homeowners had in finding another home to buy.

And the second most common reason suggests that the rate-lock effect is real: A significant number of homeowners said they decided not to sell because they didn't want to give up their current mortgage rate.

Despite market conditions leaning heavily in favor of sellers, many homesellers still offered concessions during April closings: 

  • 34% of agents surveyed said a seller they worked with offered a credit for repairs

  • Nearly 20% said their sellers offered some assistance with closing costs

  • Nearly 16% of agents said their sellers offered the buyer a home warranty 

Mixed views on market activity: About 46% of agents surveyed said that in the next three months, they expect both buyer and seller activity to be average. 

When looking only at buyers, 40% expect buyer activity to be high or very high — down from 47% of agents surveyed just a month prior. Roughly 14% of agents said they think buyer activity will be low to very low.

On the listing side, the results were nearly flipped, with 43% of agents saying they expect seller activity to be low to very low, and just 11% predicting seller activity to be high.

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