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How long will it take to find your house?

How long will it take to find your houseGiven it's highly labor-intensive and weather-related issues can throw a real wrench into production timetables, building a house takes time. According to the National Association of Home Builders and Census Bureau, it's typically seven solid months before a home is ready to be to moved into and lived in.

But how long does it take to find a house? As you might expect, the answer isn't always clear-cut. Nevertheless, the NAHB recently released a report that gives would-be homebuyers an estimate of the weeks they can anticipate devoting to the search.

On average, prospective homeowners spend at least three months before they find the property they eventually purchase, the NAHB revealed its latest Housing Trends Report. The poll, which questioned approximately more than 15,000 individuals, found 51 percent had been looking for no fewer than three months. In the fourth quarter of 2017, roughly six in 10 homebuyers were actively searching for a full three months.

What's the hold up all about?

It raises the question: Why is it taking this long? Part of the issue is the supply - there isn't enough of it. Indeed, based on the most recent figures available from the National Association of Realtors, existing homes available for sale in July totaled 1.9 million. This figure represents a supply level of 4.3 months at the present pace of homes going under contract.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, stated the reality of the situation.

"Existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand," Yun explained.

Total housing starts in July reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million, the Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported in August, a slight increase at just shy of 1 percent.

Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist, chalked up the modest uptick to a combination of factors.

"Supply-side challenges, including increases in material prices and chronic labor shortages, are affecting affordability in many markets," Dietz said. "However, consumer demand remains strong due to a growing economy and job market and favorable demographics."

On the plus side, Dietz hastened to mention, construction for single-family houses is improving notably on a year-to-date basis, rising 7.2 percent and 3.4 percent among multifamily properties. And in the Midwest, combined housing starts jumped 11.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Buyers know what they want

It would be one thing if aspiring homeowners were fine with purchasing virtually anything with four walls. But of course, everyone enters the market with a general idea of the picture perfect house.

It also explains why 45 percent buyers, in the latest NAHB Housing Trends Report, cited properties not having the features they most wanted as the reason why they'd been looking for three months or longer, the leading rationale. Meanwhile, 43 percent said their lengthy search had to do with price point, unable to find a house in their budget range.

Whatever the ultimate cause, homebuyers are undaunted by the challenge that's before them. At 55 percent, a majority of respondents in the NAHB study indicated they planned to keep on looking until they found something they wanted. Just 16 percent said they were taking a break for the time being, starting again in several months or next year.

Whether you've just entered the market or have been at it for a while now, don't give up. Something will turn up. Just be ready to take action when the time comes. Like a fine wine, a delicious home-cooked meal or building a house from scratch, locating your home takes time.