Will Surging Online Home Searches Jumpstart Sales?

June 2, 2020

Real estate sites are reporting a jump in online home searches. Comparing March 20 (as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S.) to May 9 (the most active day of the year for home searches so far), Point2Homes says visits to its real estate marketplace have surged 125%. The online real estate portal also says site visits are now up 55% year over year.

Google Trends data also shows that the search phrases “houses for sale,” “cheap homes for sale,” and “house with garden” have been rising since April. View data broken out by markets where Google searches for “homes for sale” are seeing the strongest rebound.

Despite searches being up, the share of buyers in the market today is fewer than prior to the pandemic as some have changed their plans, at least in the interim. Point2 Homes, which surveyed nearly 24,000 prospective buyers at its site between March 23 and April 29, saw the percentage of people who are still looking to buy a home dropped from 40% to 32%.

For those still in the market, many are looking for a deal, surveys show. Forty percent of consumers who say they’re looking for a home said they’re looking for a less expensive home, up from 36% at the end of March, according to Point2 Homes.