The Los Angeles metro area topped the list of most-searched areas in the U.S. at Realtor.com in December, parent company Move Inc. announced this week.

Chicago was second on the list, followed by the Riverside, Calif.; Phoenix, Detroit; Dallas; Tampa, Fla.; Philadelphia; San Diego, Calif.; and Boston metro areas.

The Los Angeles metro area topped the list of most-searched areas in the U.S. at Realtor.com in December, parent company Move Inc. announced this week.

Chicago was second on the list, followed by the Riverside, Calif.; Phoenix, Detroit; Dallas; Tampa, Fla.; Philadelphia; San Diego, Calif.; and Boston metro areas.

Some of those metro areas have also been hot spots for foreclosure. RealtyTrac, a foreclosure data company, reported that the Riverside metro area had the third-highest rate of foreclosure-related filings in 2008 among metro areas it tracks nationwide, while the Phoenix area was fifth on the list and Detroit placed 10th (see Inman News).

Four of the top-20 most-searched metro areas at Realtor.com in December are in California and four are in Florida, Move Inc. announced — Florida had the second-highest rate of foreclosure-related filings in 2008, according to RealtyTrac, while California was fourth.

The Fort Myers, Fla., metro area had the largest year-over-year gain in search activity at Realtor.com in December, up 106.1 percent from December 2007.

Next on the list was Naples, Fla., up 103.4 percent year-over-year in December; Las Vegas (89.6 percent); Stockton (88.7 percent); Riverside (88.3 percent); Miami, (86 percent); and Oakland, Calif. (74.6 percent).

Eight of the top-20 metro areas on this list are in California and seven are in Florida.

Naples led the list of metro areas tracked by Realtor.com for its month-to-month gain in search activity from November 2008 to December 2008: up 29.4 percent. Birmingham, Ala., had the second-highest November-to-December gain, at 24.5 percent.

Other fast-rising metro areas in search popularity in December compared to November include: Tucson, Ariz. (up 24.3 percent); Baton Rouge, La. (23.8 percent); Little Rock, Ark. (23.7 percent); Lakeland, Fla. (23.6 percent); and New Orleans (22.9 percent).

Realtor.com consistently ranks at the top of the list of real estate search sites — Web metrics company Hitwise reported that Realtor.com had a 6.7 percent market share of total visitors to real estate-related Web sites in December, up from 6.43 percent in November. Second-place Yahoo Real Estate had a 4.12 percent market share in December, according to Hitwise, down from 4.64 percent in November.

Last week, Move Inc. announced that Steven H. Berkowitz, former CEO for search site Ask.com, replaces W. Michael Long as the new CEO at Move Inc.

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