Since almost everyone begins their home search on the Web today the volume of search activity is a good indicator of the state of interest in buying and selling real estate.
Searches for ‘Chicago real estate’ on Google peaked in March 2004 and current search volume is off 60% from the peak. In May 2008 search volume was down 51% from the March 2004 level. The low point was last December, when search volume was 63% below the peak level.
The numbers are starkly worse for searches on ‘Chicago new homes’, which peaked in January 2005 and are down 80%. Current search volume is the lowest Google has tracked.
YoChicago’s visitor stats tell a somewhat different story. Our traffic peaked at just over 45,000 unique visitors last year. We reached over 39,000 unique visitors during the month of April 2009, a relatively modest drop.
Our relatively new NewHomeNotebook site peaked at just over 26,000 unique visitors last month, and traffic is up modestly so far this month.
What to make of these numbers? My speculation – and it’s only that – is that interest in new construction in Chicago remains relatively high but buyers are still reluctant to pull the trigger: searchers are more motivated to purchase than readers.