Commentary

Curiosity Peaks at Realty Sites

Curiosity Peaks at Realty Estate Sites

According to Hitwise, consumer Internet searches for the terms "real estate bubble" and "housing bubble" reached a 12-month high the week ending May 28, 2005. The market share of these terms across all major search engines like Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search and others, skyrocketed 311 percent and 174 percent respectively versus the prior week.

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Visits to real estate sites increased into the spring and early summer of 2005, grew an average of three percent each week. The market share of total Internet visits for real estate sites is up 19 percent the week ending June 11, 2005 versus year-ago. As speculation over a U.S. real estate bubble continues in the mainstream media, new Internet search behavior data suggest consumers are equally concerned that the current market is overpriced.

"Increased traffic on real estate sites is reflective of the sector's growing adoption of Web-based technologies and databases," said Bill Tancer, Vice President of Research at Hitwise. "Still, recent Internet search activity suggests that some activity in the category is being driven by curiosity of rising property values and the possibility of a bursting bubble."

Income a factor:

  • Internet users with household income between $60,000 and $149,999 are nine percent more likely to have visited a real estate site in the four weeks ending June 11
  • Online users with household income less than $30,000 are 14 percent less likely to visit a real estate site
  • Users with household income greater that $150,000 are eight percent less likely.

Hitwise clickstream data for the four weeks ending June 11 reveal that:

  • 25.0 percent of visits to real-estate sites originate directly from other real-estate sites
  • 22.1 percent from search engines
  • 8.1 percent from Web e-mail services
  • 6.3 percent from portal home pages

Once on a real-estate site:

  • 32.2 percent of visitors will depart directly to another real-estate site
  • 5.5 percent to a search engine
  • 4.8 percent to an online bank or financial institution
  • 4.9 percent will go to a portal home page

Top 10 Real Estate Web Sites

Week ending June 11, 2005

Rank

Domain

Market Share

1

www.realtor.com

12.29%

2

www.rentnet.com

5.50%

3

www.homegain.com

3.06%

4

www.rent.com

2.68%

5

realestate.yahoo.com

2.02%

6

www.realtytrac.com

1.80%

7

www.remax.com

1.70%

8

www.apartments.com

1.69%

9

www.century21.com

1.68%

10

houseandhome.msn.com

1.42%

Source: Hitwise.com, June 2005 

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