A study published this week confirms what we’ve been saying all along: consumers’ online experiences are increasingly influencing their home buying activity offline.
According to the report, a whopping 90 percent of homebuyers searched online during the home buying process, with 52 percent choosing that as their first step in the process.
Called “The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate,” the report includes custom research from the U.S. National Association of Realtors’ 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, combined with internal Google data and research.
Particularly interesting to BAM were three findings:
- First, 31 percent of home buyers who took action on a real-estate website were aged 25-34, the biggest share of any age group,
- Second, video played an important role in consumers’ search process, specifically when they wished to find out more about a particular community, tour the inside of a home, or obtain general information,
- Third, about one-fifth of real estate related searches occurred on mobile devices — a 120 percent year-over-year increase.
These findings confirm that video plays a major role in this online research process. They also confirm that while having an online presence will drive traffic and generate leads for any demographic, it’s especially important in the case of a community targeting younger homebuyers. (However, the data still show people of all ages do go online to research the home buying process.)
This is why we strongly recommend to all our clients that they advertise online and create SEO-optimized websites, as well as an active social media presence. As for video, we aim to revamp our efforts in 2013.
A statement from Patrick Grandinetti, Google’s head of real estate, does a fine job of summarizing the report’s findings — as well as our recommendations for the past few years:
“Online technologies are [increasingly] driving offline behaviors, and home buying is no exception. (…) The real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information — for example, through paid search, relevant websites, video environments, and mobile applications.”
Did you read the report? Did any of its findings surprise you in any way?