The Realtor.com property-search Web site topped the list of real estate sites for its share of Web traffic in February, according to Internet intelligence company Hitwise, followed by foreclosure and property-listings resource RealtyTrac.com and real estate information and services site HomeGain.com. And comScore, another Web ratings company, reported a growing audience for real estate Web sites.

Realtor.com had an 8.78 percent market share in the real estate category in February, Hitwise reported, while RealtyTrac had a 3.73 percent share and HomeGain had a 3.07 percent share.

Rounding out the top-10, in order from fourth to 10th, were: www.rent.com, www.remax.com, www.realestate.yahoo.com, www.zillow.com, www.apartments.com, www.ziprealty.com, and www.move.com. Move.com, which like Realtor.com is operated by Move Inc. (formerly Homestore), improved to 10th from a 12th-place ranking in January and a 17th-place ranking in December. Move.com bumped Century21.com from 10th in January to 11th in February.

The rankings of other top-10 real estate sites were unchanged from January to February.

The Hitwise data is based on a sample of 10 million U.S. Internet users. The top-10 real estate industry Web sites accounted for 30 percent of visits to all Web sites in the real estate category in February, Hitwise also reported, while 41.21 percent of visits went to the top-20 real estate Web sites and about 70 percent of traffic went to the top-100 sites. Visitors spent an average of 10 minutes, 56 seconds at real estate industry Web sites in February.

Meanwhile, Web metrics company comScore Media Metrix reported in a separate analysis that Move Inc. Web sites ranked first on the list in total unique visitors for the real estate category in January 2007, though total unique visitors to the site fell from 9.26 million in January 2006 to 8.53 million in January 2007 — an 8 percent drop. Yahoo! Real Estate, at www.realestate.yahoo.com, ranked second on the comScore list with 4.02 million total unique visitors — a 94 percent gain from 2.08 million unique users in January 2006.

Also, comScore reported that the total Internet audience for real estate Web sites increased from 34.79 million unique visitors in January 2006 to 39.85 million unique visitors in January 2007 — a 15 percent gain. Meanwhile, the total U.S. Internet audience grew 3 percent, from an estimated 170.8 million unique visitors in January 2006 to 175.56 million unique visitors in January 2007.

HomeGain ranked third on the comScore list in January, with total unique visitors dropping from 4.3 million in January 2006 to 3.89 million in January 2007. Rent.com ranked fourth, followed by MSN Real Estate, Apartments.com, AOL Real Estate, ServiceMagic.com, RE/MAX International Inc. and RealtyTrac.com in 10th place. ComScore’s top-15 list for the real estate category also included Zillow.com, Homes.com, ForRent.com, HPCInter@ctive (which operates a range of real estate sites including ApartmentGuide.com, RentClicks.com, NewHomeGuide.com and Rentals.com) and Century 21.

And Hitwise reported that the top-20 real estate sites in February, based on market share, included Century 21.com in 11th place, followed by Homes.com, ServiceMagic.com, ForRent.com, HUD.gov, HouseValues.com, MSN Real Estate (www.realestate.msn.com), ColdwellBanker.com, ApartmentGuide.com and ForeclosureStore.com.

“Realtor.com” was the most popular search term that led to traffic at real estate-related Web sites in February, Hitwise also reported, accounting for 1.68 percent of all traffic for that month. That was followed by “remax” with 0.92 percent of traffic volume, “apartments” at 0.71 percent, “real estate” at 0.6 percent, “homes for sale” at 0.51 percent, “century 21” at 0.42 percent, “zillow.com” at 0.4 percent, “realtor” at 0.4 percent, “zillow” at 0.38 percent and “apartments for rent” at 0.35 percent.

The February Hitwise report lists a number of “fast-moving Web sites” in the real estate category, which are local Web sites that have experienced “substantial increases in rank” in the past four months. Those sites include Advantage GMAC Real Estate in Moses Lake, Wash. (www.agmac.com); RE/MAX Hometown Realty in Lincoln, Ill. (www.rmxhometown.com); Ellis County Realty LLC in Midlothian, Texas (www.elliscountyrealty.com); and A-1 Higdon Luxury Condo Rentals in Alabama (www.gulfshoresrental.com), among others.

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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