Google Real Estate Part 5: The Appeal of Homeownership

by Reno Manuele


Why do home shoppers actually look for homes? What are the motivating factors? Our Google Real Estate series investigates.

So far, our “Google Real Estate” series has covered a wide range of topics within the real estate tech sphere. From Internet video, to mobile users, to the broad applications of marketing strategies, our emphasis has been on the versatility (not to mention elasticity) of technology, and how it inspired home shoppers to look for properties.

One area we have yet to cover, though, is why those home shoppers are actually looking for homes! Sure, 51 percent of users visit YouTube, and 30 percent utilize Internet video to view client testimonials, but for what reason are they shopping for homes in the first place? Thankfully, this was also an area that Google and NAR targeted in their survey.

Google Real Estate: Why Homeowners Look for Homes

The reasons for home shopping, NAR found, vary quite substantially, though one reason dominates the others:

  • Thirty percent of prospective homebuyers search for a property out of the simple desire to own a home of their own; not only is that the most prominent reason for home shopping, but it’s nearly three times as prevalent as the second place option, with 11 percent of homebuyers desiring a larger home.
  • Interestingly, of the other reasons for home searching, only three seemed to deal with topics of necessity: 9 percent of home shoppers are looking for homes because of  job-related relocation or move; 8 percent because of a change in their family situation; and 4 percent because of retirement.
  • All the other reasons were outgrowths of personal interests or desires of the home shoppers. For instance, 7 percent of home shoppers were taking advantage of today’s record high housing affordability; 6 percent desired to be closer to family, friends and relatives; 6 percent desired a home in a better area; 4 percent desired a smaller home, and finally, 4 percent desired to be closer to their job, school or transit.

Homeownership as Part of the American Dream

So in the end, the American Dream prevails, with nearly a third of home shoppers seeking their own piece of the dream by owning their own home. Though numerous studies, particularly Trulia’s latest “American Dream Survey,” have provided previous evidence of this desire among prospective homebuyers, it’s nonetheless interesting to see the American Dream outweigh all other reasons for home shopping so disproportionately.

But as Rob Schaid, the broker/owner of RE/MAX Plaza in McHenry, explained it, the American Dream of homeownership is central to the U.S. real estate market.

“Close your eyes and picture the American dream and tell me what you see,” Schaid said. “Many will answer a nice little house with a white picket fence. We vision owning the dream, not renting it.”

Check out our earlier entries in the “Google real estate” series herehereherehere and here.

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