Women dominate the online home-shopping population, according to a survey conducted by American Home Guides, an Internet marketing service for the home-building industry.

The typical person who shopped for homes on the Web in 2003 was a 26- to 35-year-old woman with an annual household income between $50,000 and $100,000. She searched for a single-family home to purchase in about three months that was priced between $100,000 and $250,000 somewhere in the southern United States.

The 2003 survey included responses from more than 5,000 participants and concluded that online buyers are diverse, independent and motivated. They don’t rely on real estate agents very much, know what they want, where they want to live and what they can afford.

“We think this is valuable information that will help builders market their homes appropriately,” said Barry Lynn, founder and president of American Home Guides.

The prototypical online home buyer used the Web as her primary source of new home information for about one to three hours per week during the home search, which was conducted without a real estate agent.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents were women, and about 73 percent of those women were younger than 45. About 59 percent of the male respondents were younger than 45.

Buyers were asked what source they used most for homes information, and the Internet received about 73 percent of votes, followed by “driving around” with more than 8 percent of responses.

More than 1,000 participants, or 23 percent, said they were using a real estate agent in their new home search. But the majority of this group still said it considers the Internet the primary source of information.

More than half of the Internet home buyers said they planned to purchase their homes in the next six months and nearly 83 percent planned to purchase in the next year.

American Home Guides said it would conduct a second online buyer survey on its family of Web sites in July and August. Participants remain anonymous and are not required to register with the company’s Web site. The company will track the survey in real time so builders and other interested parties can observe its progress.

“We intend to produce this profile every year, and are curious to see if and how it changes over time,” Lynn said.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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