I was looking at some website traffic trends today and something I saw really jumped out at me. Last year, visitors to websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com that are often used by real estate buyers and sellers saw fairly level activity up until the middle of October when traffic to these websites took a dramatic dive. Fast-forward to late November. On November 26th the Census Bureau reported that New Home Sales in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433 thousand – the lowest sales rate since 1982. So, October saw traffic to real estate websites drop AND sales drop. Coincidental? Maybe, but maybe not. We can watch website traffic trends practically in real time so we can see when public interest rises and falls, but we have to wait for actual sales numbers to confirm what we suspect to be true.
An interesting corollary might be measuring foot traffic in a retail environment. This is a commonly used measurement of potential buyers – the more lookers there are, the greater the possibility of sales. Similarly with those looking for real estate on sites like Realtor.com, can we assume the more lookers, the more buyers?
If we assume that there is correlation between web traffic and sales I think we can predict some good news because beginning about the 2nd week of December traffic to these same real estate websites jumped and are continuing to rise through the first weeks of the new year. Coincidence? Maybe. We’ll have to wait for December and January reports to be released before we know for sure.
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About David Goldstein — David Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.