More home buyers go online

Jan 26, 2006

More Americans who search online for a new home are more likely to purchase a house through a real-estate agent than a non-Internet user, says a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors.

The survey revealed 81 percent of online home searches bought a house through a real-estate agent, compared with 63 percent of non-Internet users. These non-Internet users were most likely to buy directly from the builder or the owner.

"Home buyers are making use of many sources of information in their home searches," said NAR's senior economist Paul Bishop on homebuyers taking advantage of the Internet, which offers a variety of information from schools to neighborhoods.

The real-estate business in the last five years has changed in terms of the amount of information available to home buyers and sellers, Bishop said. With the Internet, purchasers have access to information on local community information, school districts and other aspects of neighborhood quality, he said.

And in fact, respondents said neighborhood quality was the most important factor in choosing a home, followed by other factors including job or school proximity, family and friend proximity, and school district.

The same survey of more than 7,800 responses also reported that the use of the Internet for home searches rose dramatically from 2 percent of buyers in 1995 to 77 percent in 2005, even though nine out of 10 homebuyers still use a real-estate agent in the search process.

Yard signs were the next-largest source of buyer information, with 70 percent.

More people also found their purchased home first via the Internet, up from 15 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2005 compared to a mere 2 percent in 1997, according to the survey. Meanwhile, 36 percent of homebuyers cited a real-estate agent and 15 percent yard signs.

However, despite the growing use of technology, Bishop says, there is still a dependence on a real-estate agent due to the complexity of a transaction.

"Home purchases are becoming more complex -- there's more paperwork," said Bishop. Instead he urges homebuyers and sellers to take advantage of having lots of information in a really competitive market and the agents who are competing for their business.

This complexity could also account for the "clear downtrend" of for-sale-by-owners, which has leveled off.

Among respondents, only 13 percent of sellers conducted transactions with no assistance of an agent in 2005 compared to a market share of 14 percent in 2003 and 2004. Of the 13 percent, 39 percent of transactions were based on prior and "closely-held" relationships between buyer and seller.

According to Bishop the most important criteria for an agent are reputation and knowledge of a local market.

And nine of 10 buyers, according to the survey, also believed that desired qualities in an agent were knowledge of the purchase process, responsiveness and knowledge of the market.

Among other findings:

-- Four out of 10 respondents were first-time buyers.

-- The median age of entry-level buyers was 32 years, also typical over time, and the household income was $57,200.

-- The typical repeat buyer was 46 years old and had a household income of $83,200.

-- Married couples make up the largest share of the housing market at 61 percent.

-- More single women purchase homes than single men: 21 percent vs. 9 percent.

-- Typical buyers walk through nine properties, eight weeks of home searching, and moved 12 miles away from a previous residence.

-- Typical sellers had homes on the market for four weeks, lived in the house for six years, moved 15 miles away from the new residence and previously owned three houses, including the current one sold.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: US newspaper industry revenue fell 2.6 pct in 2013

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dark Web bazaar Silk Road touts reopening

Nov 07, 2013

Silk Road, the online black market bazaar for drugs, hacker tools and other illicit goods, says it is back a month after the FBI took down the website.

Study finds minorities pay more for housing than whites

Apr 23, 2013

(Phys.org) —Black and Hispanic homebuyers paid about 3.5 percent more for comparable homes in four metropolitan U.S. markets than white buyers did, according to a Duke University-led analysis of more than 2 million home ...

US seizes 'Ty' the dinosaur in NY

Jun 22, 2012

(AP) — The U.S. government seized a rare dinosaur skeleton Friday in what observers for the Mongolian government and a dinosaur expert called an important step toward returning the skeleton to its home in Mongolia.

Recommended for you

Five features an Amazon phone might offer

17 minutes ago

Rumors of an Amazon smartphone reached a fever pitch this week, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that the device could be due out this year.

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

1 hour ago

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

4 hours ago

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...