'FHA,' 'Home Loan' Lead Spike in Google Real Estate-Related Searches, NAR Study Shows

Google real estate search results
Google real estate search results

Think real estate is a boring topic? Not according to Google! (And us, obviously). According to a new study from the National Association of Realtors, real estate-related searches on Google have skyrocketed 253 percent over the past four years.

Apparently, this hike in real estate interest can be attributed to a surge in the use of online home shopping and research tools, as well as the tendency of first-time buyers to utilize the internet for information regarding home grants, loans and assistance.

According to the study, first-time homebuyers frequently searched terms like "FHA loan," "FHA," "home grants," "home loan," and "home buyer assistance."

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"Increasingly, online technologies are driving offline behaviors, and home buying is no exception," said Google's head of real estate, Patrick Grandinetti. "With 90 percent of home buyers searching online during their homebuying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information -- for example through paid search, relevant websites, video environments, and mobile applications."

The data also revealed that homebuyers search most frequently for homes by number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, garages, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and swimming pools. Such home features represent 70 percent of all searched features on the listing site Realtor.com -- which attracts over 20 million unique visitors each month.

According to Steven Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc: "Technology has transformed the way Realtors do business. [But] rather than displacing real estate agents, the Internet is actually helping connect them with home buyers."