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Online Home Browsing More Common

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The number of people going online to seek housing information has doubled since 2000, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported. As that number increases, it seems local advertisers and business owners are missing out on some golden opportunities. There has to be a way to combine local targeting and online housing listings.

Nearly two in five (39%) adult US internet users have browsed housing listings online, up from 34 percent in 2004 and 27 percent in 2000. A much greater percentage, 77 percent, of homebuyers used the internet for research purposes, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Of all internet users, 27 percent have looked online for housing information, twice the number that had done so in 2000. Age, or lack thereof, is the greatest factor associated with online housing research, which also indicates a growth market as the youth come of home buying or renting age.

Over half of young adults ages 18-29 have searched online for housing information, compared to 43 percent of users 30-49, 27 percent of users ages 50-64; and 15 percent of users ages 65 and older.

The number of people that have taken virtual tours is also up; 51 percent have done this, up from 45 percent two years ago. Nearly a third have visited a classified ad site like Craigslist.

As this becomes the norm in the next few years, now is a great time to start planning some sort of marketing effort to target these folks on a local level, especially for those who operate a brick-and-mortar store or business near these locations.

Wouldn’t make sense to strike a deal with listing sites and realtors to include businesses in or around these neighborhoods, or to offer online coupons valid if someone buys or rents there?

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