A joint study by Google and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has found that consumers’ online experiences increasingly influence their homebuying activities activity offline.
Called “The Digital house Hunt: Consumer and market Trends in Real Estate,” the report produced the following observations, among others:
- 90 percent of buyers searched online when looking for a new home;
- Real estate related searches on Google have grown 253 percent over four years;
- Of those who used the Internet to search, 89 percent also utilized multiple sources such as real estate agent (88 percent), open house (46 percent) and newspaper advertisements (28 percent);
- The chief reason for purchasing a home is to own their own (30 percent,), with a desire for a larger home being the next biggest category (11 percent) and every other motivation in the single digits;
- The typical consumer takes three months to make the purchase;
- Nearly a third of age groups who register to buy or sell on the site of a major real estate brand are between 25 and 34;
- The balance between men and women who have registered on a site has sifted from 43 percent to 53 percent women;
- Internet searches by first-time buyers on Google have grown 5 percent from year to year, with 47 percent going online;
- Dominant search terms used by first-timers have to do with loans;
- Seniors also turned to the Internet, with 75 percent going online to search and 30 percent first learning online about the home they purchased.
Although the 27-page study was released on Jan. 7, the survey was conducted last July, when the NAR mailed questionnaires to 93,502 randomly chosen persons who purchased a home in the preceding year.
I don’t happen to put much credence in mail surveys because respondents select themselves in returning them. Because of that distinction, we don’t know how representative the 8,501 respondents are.
Still, to a real estate broker and undoubtedly some buyers and sellers, the results are worth noting with more than a single grain of salt.
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022