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Buyers taking 9 months longer to buy a home

Buyers are taking more than nine months longer to purchase a home than they did at the end of 2020, with tight supply and falling affordability behind the time blowout.

The research by realestateview.com.au and Chi Squared found tougher buying conditions had seen the average time to purchase a home reach two years.

Chi Squared Research Director Alex Mihalovich said it was interesting to see the impact the current market conditions had been having on buyers.

“We knew buying property was getting tougher with stock availability and increasing prices out of Covid, followed by cost-of-living pressures and interest rate increases more recently, but to see the length of the total purchasing journey increasing to over two years was surprising,” Mr Mihalovich said.

“Granted, some people stay in the dreaming phase for some time but to see significant increases in the actively searching phase and the purchasing phase is a sure sign of a challenging market for both vendors and buyers.”

The study of 1600 people found there were four distinct phases that homebuyers go through when purchasing.

The ‘dreaming’ phase, when someone first considers moving house or buying property but hasn’t started heavily researching, is now taking 7.3 months.

The considering stage, when a buyer starts to have a more serious look around and consider location, amenity, pricing and of course finance, lasts, on average, 7.3 months, which is an increase of 1.3 months from 2020. 

The third phase is the ‘active’ phase, which lasts 7.5 months on average and involves the buyer narrowing down their property choices, conducting inspections, placing offers, and obtaining finance approvals. 

The final phase of the journey is the purchase phase, which is when a buyer has purchased their desired property and is finalising settlement and moving.

This phase has increased the most since 2020, rising to 6.9 months on average, which is a jump of more than 4 months.

realestateview.com.au Chief Executive Officer Toby Balazs said in a tougher market, buyers want more tools and information to help them move through the property purchase journey more quickly.

“The research also validated our hypothesis that multiple media types are needed when selling a property with different types of media being used across the different phases,” Mr Balazs said.

“We know there is a perception in some categories that print is declining but in the property sector it bucks the trend. 

“We see high usage for people searching for property across the board but particularly in the dreaming phase with buyers 61 per cent more likely to use print than any other media type.” 

Mr Balazs said that throughout the considering and active stages, online became more effective, from both a digital advertising and social space, while the real estate property portals were the highest ranked within the active stage.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.