Australians are increasingly heading online to do their house hunting according to new research by Slater and Gordon Conveyancing Works.
The independent research surveyed 2000 Australians with more than half saying the web would be their first port of call if they were in the market for a new house.
Overall, 58.5 per cent of people surveyed said they would head to real estate websites to do their house hunting, with women (61.7 per cent) slightly more likely to look online than men (56 per cent). And although there was very little difference in each state, Queenslanders were the most likely to house hunt online (61.4 per cent).
Just 11 per cent said they would contact a real estate agent directly, with looking in agent’s windows (7.9 per cent) and consulting the local paper (7.6 per cent) the next two most popular options. Only 5.5 per cent said they would drive around streets where they wanted to live looking for ‘for sale’ signs.
And while the web is the biggest draw card, social media is not, with just 2 per cent saying they would consult social media.
Slater and Gordon Conveyancing Works Lawyer Robert Kern said the results were not surprising.
“House hunting can be time consuming and a lot of us don’t have much spare time. By getting a sense online of what’s out there people can narrow the field and decide what they want to see and where,” Mr Kern said.
“It’s also the convenience of being able to search when you want to, such as during a short break, on public transport, or outside of business hours.”
What was interesting, according to Mr Kern, was that the trend towards online was not just confined to Generation Y.
In all age brackets more than 50 per cent of Australians surveyed said they would search online first with 35-44 year olds the most likely (68.8 per cent).
However, even the over 55s said they would be most likely to do their research online first (53.7 per cent).
“Real estate websites are becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing people to highly define what they’re looking for in terms of price, location and amenities, it means they don’t have to sift through lots of unwanted stuff to find exactly what they want,” he said.
“They often also provide advice.
“Buying a home is a big commitment so it makes sense that people want all the information they can get; and where better than a site that is a one stop shop?
“The research certainly suggests that any decision by companies to invest in and expand their presence online is the right one.”