Another indicator of the consumer mindset over housing is the number of consumers researching real estate online. The number of unique visitors to top real estate Web sites increased 17 percent from August 2005 to August 2006, according to analytics firm comScore Media Metrix, though that increase was not seen by all real estate sites.
The most visited site, Realtor.com [owned by Move Inc. (MOVE)], had an 11 percent year-over-year decrease in unique visitors, with about 6.6 million people visiting the national property listings site in August this year, according to comScore. The entire Move.com network of sites had only a 1 percent decline with 10.4 million unique visitors. HomeGain, a company that matches real estate agents to consumers, also saw a 2 percent decline in traffic from last year to 4.1 million in August. (Inman News publisher Bradley Inman founded HomeGain in 1999 and sold the company to Classified Ventures in July 2005.)
Despite declines at a few top real estate Web sites, plenty of sites in the top 10 posted increases in visitors during the first year of the slowing market. HouseValues (SOLD) sites – which include JustListed.com, HouseValues.com and HomePages.com – saw traffic increase, as well as AOL (TWX) Real Estate, Yahoo! (YHOO) Real Estate, Rent.com, Apartments.com, and HPCInter@ctive, a division of Primedia (PRM) that publishes a number of rental print guides.
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