Search Shows Real Estate Sales Rising, Along With Vacant Land Purchases

It’s intuitive to believe that search plays a major role when researching information, but the fact remains that nearly every major purchase -- from automobiles to homes and even vacations -- now begins with a web search to research products, reviews, destinations, and prices.

Hitwise analyzed the top searches driving traffic to real estate sites during the beginning of 2018 and released the data this week. The report, titled Real Estate Industry: Key Trends & Competitive Strategies, looks at more than how these terms influence the real estate market, to examine how consumer behavior continues to change.  

The top three fastest-growing search terms were “homes for sale near me,” rose 104% to 0.066% in early 2018, compared with a year ago. “Houses for sale near me” came in at No. 2, rising 122% to 0.049%, and “houses for rent near me” rose 75% to 0.050%.



“Houses for sale,” “weather,” and “mobile homes for sale” came in at No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 respectively, followed by “near me” searches for “houses for sale,” “houses for rent,” “land for sale” and “for rent.”

In fact, the data suggests consumers are searching for land to buy and adding a mobile or manufactured home on it.

About three-fifths of the search include the phrase “for sale,” which suggests a growing desire by consumers to buy rather than rent. That’s not to say renting isn’t an option.

Searches for “3 bedroom house for rent” rose 646% year-over-year in early 2018. Searches for “3 bedroom apartment for rent” jumped 257%.

The term “apartments for rent” is in demand, but has a lower organic rate, which suggests many sites are bidding for this paid search term. Hitwise also calls out the term “mortgage calculator” to drive traffic because it has an extremely high organic click rate.

The first five of the top 20 unbranded terms driving traffic to real estate sites in early 2018 were “realtor” at 0.77%, “apartment for rent” at 0.18%, “houses for sale” at 0.12%, “homes for sale” at 0.11%, and “mortgage calculator” at 0.11%.

Geolocation plays a big part these days, even when it comes to real estate search engines. For example, Zillow might get more total traffic nationwide, but Redfin has a higher engagement rate from people living in Seattle, 184%, must higher than any of the other listing sites like Realtor or Zillow. The data shows that those who live in New York City like Hotpads best, followed by Trulia. And in Louisville, Remax is the preference of choice.


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