While most homebuyers spend weeks and months looking for a new property, almost a quarter of homebuyers searching online take action the same day they begin their research, a new study by Google and the US-based National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has found.
The Digital House Hunt report by Google and NAR highlights key trends when it comes to using the internet for property searches, with many of the findings relevant to Australian real estate agencies.
One of Google’s marketing experts believes the changing nature of the consumer is far more complex than previously thought.
"Today’s shoppers bounce back and forth at their own speed in a multichannel marketplace. They switch devices to suit their needs at any given moment,” the report reads.
“They search; go off to look at reviews, ratings, styles and prices; and then search again. They see ads on TV and in newspapers and online. They walk into local stores to look at products. They talk to friends, over the back fence and on social media.
“The story is no different for home shoppers.”
According to the report, real estate related searches on Google.com grew 22 per cent year-over-year in 2012.
One of the findings show that while 40 per cent of homeowners will spend 120 days or more on research, 24 per cent will take action on the same day, highlighting the need to maintain a dominant mobile-internet presence.
In Australia, more consumers are moving to mobile devices, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
According to the ABS' most recent data, mobile internet usage has risen 6.7 per cent from December 2011 to June 2012, taking the average growth of mobile usage to 44 per cent since 2009.
Late last year realestate.com.au also reported huge growth in their mobile traffic.
Greg Ellis, CEO and managing director at REA Group, owner of realestate.com.au, said that while website unique browser numbers declined, this was partly offset by the rapid rise in mobile unique browser numbers, which rose by more than 100 per cent on-year to 1.35 million.
The Digital House Hunt report reflects these findings, with approximately one-fifth of real estate related searches happening on mobile devices, growing 120 per cent year-over-year from 2011 to 2012.