House-hunting habits have ‘totally changed’

The rise of mobile technology has revolutionised when and where people look at property listings, portal bosses have revealed.

Domain Group, which now gets more than 70 per cent of its traffic from mobile devices, has observed that people have stopped doing most of their house-hunting from work computers.

Chief operating officer Tony Blamey told an REB Leadership Series event for portal executives that Domain no longer experiences a spike on Monday mornings, when people would look at all the properties they’d missed out on.

“That’s totally changed – usage now peaks on Saturday morning when people are actually in the property space, when they’re either looking at properties or wondering which properties to inspect,” Mr Blamey said.

“Usage also spikes in the evenings when people are on their devices in their leisure moments – perhaps in bed with an iPad.

“You think about the opportunities moving forward; it’s an incredibly timely thing because it’s always in your pocket, so there’s the possibility of pushing more information towards consumers in an immediate way.”

Onthehouse Group, which now gets more than 50 per cent of its traffic from mobile devices, has also noticed a change in consumer behaviour, according to chief executive Chris Meehan.

“For us, [our mobile share] is increasing dramatically, which reflects the real behaviour change in homes. Previously, people would log onto their laptop at home, but now people see tablets as faster and easier, because they can use them in front of the TV,” he said.

“The classic is when people are on holidays without their computer. In the old days they never had access in Bali or the Maldives or wherever, but now they’re looking at property and keeping up with what’s going on back home.”

Homely co-chief executive Jason Spencer said his portal gets 50 per cent of its traffic from mobile devices and expects this share to eventually reach 80 per cent.

However, Mr Spencer told the REB Leadership Series event that it would be wrong to predict the demise of desktop browsing.

“We do get a lot of people who, on their lunch hour, look at listings on their desktop computer,” he said.

“I think we’ll keep using desktops because there’s some software that just doesn’t work on my iPad. When I see our CRM system internally it’s not as nice for looking at reports.”

[LinkedIn: What's your favourite listings portal and why?]

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