88% of Home Searches Start Online -
It seems every online property portal or online estate agency has some statistic showing that 80%+ of people now use the internet to search for property. This 80%+ figure seems sensible enough given anecdotal evidence but evidence to back this up is rarely shown. It is therefore nice to see a survey carried out by MyHomeLife last year has given more evidence to back up these figures.
MyHomeLife is a panel of 9000 property searchers that are selected to reflect the demographic population of the property searching market (i.e. 1/3 male & 2/3 female, 52% aged under 45%). Below is the question they were asking and the answers they gave:
So in this survey 88% of people said they used the internet as their first source in order to find property to buy or rent (this includes property portals, search engines, an agent’s website or another type of website). Given this survey was done a few months ago it is likely the online figures are even higher now given the monthly upward trend.
This survey also suggests that less than 5% of people now visit a local agent in person as their first port of call to find new property – this is obviously good news for online estate agents that typically do not have local high street offices. It must be remembered that this only measures the first source people use to find a property and they are likely to use other methods as they continue their home search. This is indicated by the 2009 Home Moving Trends Survey (we are waiting to get the 2010 results on this topic) which shows how often home buyers look at each source.
Once again, online sources are used most often with 97% of respondents having used property portals at least once and 75% saying they use them all the time. Given this information it makes sense for estate agents to invest heavily in their online presence rather than glitzy town centre offices which have a relatively small impact in attracting property buyers. The property buyers that do visit these offices have normally found the property online first and then track down the agent advertising it.