Housing-Related Searches on Google Grew 253 Percent Over Past Four Years

by Tara Steele, AGBeat

Google and NAR team up on housing study

With housing search data from Google combined with buyer and seller behavior from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the story of today’s homebuyers and sellers is unfolding, and it is clear that the Web plays a dominant role in the real estate process at an accelerated rate. According to Google, housing-related searches on Google grew 253 percent over the past four years, and NAR reports that 90 percent of homebuyers searched online during their homebuying process.

The new study reveals that 89 percent of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research, with 68 percent using mobile apps, a sharp rise when compared to five years ago.
As depicted in the image to the right, even though using mobile devices, the majority actually use mobile search while in their own home, not necessarily while in front of a home.

Of home shoppers that view videos, YouTube is their number one destination. Eighty-six percent view video to find out more about a specific community, 70 percent tour the inside of a specific home and 30 percent watch client testimonials, offering insight to real estate professionals seeking to implement or improve video in their marketing efforts.

Today’s buyers are extremely diverse in their reasons for buying, with the top reason being simply to own their own home, while 11 percent desire a larger home, 9 percent are relocating for a job and 4 percent move to obtain a smaller home. The white picket fence and nuclear family American Dream has shifted in the last decade, with reasons for buying varying and the stigma surrounding renting fading.

Nearly half shop online for 120 days or more

We were intrigued that new home shoppers are undecided and shop around online, and while nearly one fourth complete an action on a real estate site the day they start researching, 40 percent do so 120 days or more later.

The joint report notes that 78 percent of shoppers visit three or more sites prior to taking an action on a real estate site, which contrasts sharply with the NAR research showing that the majority of homebuyers hire the first real estate professional they interview.

Buyers research online much more extensively than they do offline, revealing a behavior that is modern – a preference for endless data, which we would assert makes buyers feel confident in their future purchase, so when it comes time to hire an agent, the questions are less on listings and more on the process and negotiations, which is where the true value of a real estate professional lies in this new era.


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