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It’s Harder to Find a Home Than Love When Housing Markets Are This Hot

By Claire Ballentine

Think dating is difficult? Finding a house to buy is proving even harder for Americans, according to a new survey by Zillow. 

More than a third of people who have recently moved said it’s tougher to purchase a home in today’s wildly competitive market than to find a spouse, results from the nationally representative survey showed.

Homes in the Creekwood Station subdivision in McDonough, Georgia, U.S., on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Much of the town sits in one of the ZIP codes where iBuyers are most active nationally, selling more than 100 homes last year with about 70% of those houses going to investors. Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

Bidding wars, low inventory and huge price hikes have turned homebuying into an ordeal for many house hunters over the past two years. What used to be a rite of passage in adulthood and a core tenet of the “American Dream” has turned into a struggle, leaving homeownership out of reach for buyers without significant financial means.

The number of available homes has shrunk over the past year as ultra-low mortgage rates and a shift to remote work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic drove up demand for homes in smaller cities.  Active listings in December dropped 19% year-over-year to an all-time low, while prices rose 15% to a median of $382,900. Homes priced between $800,000 and $1 million are seeing the highest rate of bidding wars in the market, followed those between $1 million to $1.5 million.

But for those dealing with virtual apps, ghosting and social media stalking that are all an intrinsic part of dating now, the quest for a home might bring some relief by comparison. In a sign of how challenging dating can be, more than 60% of women said shopping for a house is more enjoyable than attempting to find romance, compared with 39% of men.

About two-thirds of those surveyed also said their wish list of qualities in a partner is harder to fulfill than their list of features desired in a home. But a similar proportion are more willing to compromise on those wishes in a home than in a partner. 

To find that perfect house or companion, people are willing to relocate. More than 80% of respondents said they would consider moving to buy  a house, and 60% might pack their bags to improve their dating prospects. 

The good news is that 80% said they love their current homes. A figure for those happy in their romantic relationships was not included. 

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