Realtor.com today reported that consumer traffic to its Web site steadily increased during 2003, with prospective home buyers logging more than 2.5 billion minutes for the year.

Independent Internet consumer researcher Com Score Media Metrix reported the usage figures, noting that the statistics represent visits to the site by a monthly average of more than 4.98 million potential buyers.

Detailed reports from Com Score Media Metrix showed that consumer traffic to Realtor.com continues its growth in major indices: The number of unique visitors increased from 3.48 million in December 2002 to 3.8 million in November 2003 and 3.92 million in December 2003. Total page views by all visitors were 233 million in December 2002, 206 million in November 2003, and 237 million in December 2003. In one year, the total number of visits to the site grew from 7.3 million in December 2002 to 8.4 million in November 2003 and 9.4 million in December 2003.

Traffic to the site continued at a heavy pace in January, with more than 5.5 million unique users. Com Score Media Metrix reported that January visitors logged 251 million minutes on the site, more than one-third of all the time spent on all real estate-related Web sites. On average, each visitor spent more than 45 minutes on the site and looked at 75 pages of property information each month.

“Consumers are turning to the Internet in great numbers to make the process of buying a home faster, easier, and more efficient,” said NAR President Walter T. McDonald.

The heavy amount of homes-related Internet usage reflects the robust existing-homes market in 2003, in which overall sales easily surpassed the previous record in 2002. There were a total of 6.1 million existing-home sales in 2003, up 9.6 percent from the previous record of 5.57 million in 2002. NAR began tracking such sales in 1968. Following three consecutive record years, home sales are expected to continue to provide a strong foundation for the U.S. economy, while other sectors continue to improve in 2004.

Homestore Inc. operates Realtor.com, the official Web site of the National Association of Realtors.

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