Schools and community information are the most popular neighborhood search criteria for consumers searching for homes, and Seattle, Dallas and Los Angeles topped the list of most searched cities, according to early data from HomePages, a new real estate portal from HouseValues.

Consumers are actively searching homes for sale and recently sold homes, and the most searched neighborhood information includes schools (school districts and school locations) and communities – including crime statistics, weather information, and population and household details, HomePages said today.

Thirty-nine percent of consumer surveyed ranked “safety” as the number one factor when selecting a neighborhood, followed by 15 percent who ranked schools first, according to an August 2005 Kelton Research survey of 800 consumers. Of those polled with school-aged children, good schools were the single most important factor in a potential neighborhood, and these consumers value schools six times more than the “size of the home” and five times more than the “feel” or “amenities” of the house itself.

Since launching earlier this month, HomePages reported that consumers more often viewed homes for sale in the Western region of the United States before homes in the Central or Eastern parts of the country.

Three out of the top four markets are from West Coast cities:

1) Seattle/Tacoma, Wash.

2) Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

3) Los Angeles, Calif.

4) San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif.

5) Washington, D.C.

6) New York, N.Y.

7) Chicago, Ill.

8) Denver, Colo.

9) Richmond/Petersburg, Va.

10) Philadelphia, Pa.

11) Atlanta, Ga.

12) Detroit, Mich.

13) Boston, Mass.

14) Phoenix, Ariz.

15) Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif.

16) St. Louis, Mo.

17) Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne, Fla.

18) Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.

19) San Diego, Calif.

20) Portland, Ore.

21) Baltimore, Md.

22) Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

23) Las Vegas, Nev.

24) Kansas City, Kan.

25) Houston, Texas

HomePages includes birds-eye views of neighborhoods with extensive data on homes for sale and recently sold home information as well as thousands of data points for each neighborhood and more than 1.8 million business listings and government services nationwide.

Real estate agents who subscribe to HomePages can purchase marketing packages that will feature lawn signs and other marketing materials carrying the HomePages logo, and each for-sale home featured by a HomePages subscriber is assigned a unique number to ease online lookup. Heinz said HomePages helps agents build their own personal brand while guiding consumers to the information they are seeking.

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

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