The internet’s impact on shopping habits may still be short of early expectations but real estate buyers have well and truly adopted online home hunting. The last 12 months have seen a massive 44% increase in people searching for real estate online in Australia. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, 4.2 million people logged onto at least one Australian real estate site in August this year, up from 2.9 million in August 2005.
Why the big jump and in such a short time? What the internet does really well is allow you to reduce a whole pile of info into digestable chunks – and when you’re shopping for a home you really only want to know about the ones that might suit you. The speed of change is probably one of greatest impacts ever on the real estate industry.
The US National Association of Realtors recently undertook a large survey and 77% of buyers there said they used the Internet to search for a home. Interestingly the next largest source of information for buyers is a sign, mentioned by 71 percent. So buyers are still driving the areas where they want to live – maybe with a laptop and a wireless internet connection!
Another interesting stat from the US survey: The typical buyer walked through nine properties, searched eight weeks and moved 12 miles (19km) from their previous home.