The number of Internet users who look for housing information online has grown steadily over the last six years, a new study finds, thanks to more online resources for listings and other real estate information.
Nearly two in five adult Internet users in the United States, or 39 percent, have looked online for information about a place to live — double the overall number of Americans who had done so in 2000, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That was up from 34 percent in 2004 and 27 percent in 2000.
Overall, more than a quarter of all adults in the United States, or 27 percent, have looked online for information about housing, more than double the overall number of Americans who had done so in 2000 (13 percent).
Younger Internet users were more likely to seek housing information online than older Web users. Fifty-one percent of Internet users 18-29 years old have searched online for housing information, compared with 43 percent of Internet users 30-49 years old, 27 percent of Internet users 50-64 years old, and 15 percent of Internet users age 65 and older.
Moreover, 9 percent of Internet users 18-29 years old reported in August that they looked for housing information on a typical day, more than double the percentage (4 percent) in this age group who said the same thing two years earlier.
The number of years a person has been an Internet user and the type of Internet connection they have at home were two other characteristics associated with the likelihood of seeking housing information online, according to the study. Those who have been online six years or more are significantly more likely than shorter-time users to have done this: 45 percent of these veteran users have looked online for housing information; compared with 30 percent of those who have been online 4-5 years; 24 percent of those online for 2-3 years; and 22 percent of those online one year or less. In addition, 45 percent of those with broadband connections at home have looked online for housing information, compared with 30 percent of those with home dial-up connections, according to Pew.
The study also found that by August 2006, about half of all Internet users (51 percent) had taken virtual tours, up from 45 percent in November 2004. Also, nearly onethird of all Internet users (30 percent) have used online classified ads or sites such as Craigslist,up from 22 percent in September 2005.