In the last few years, the housing market has been quite the roller coaster. As it did with just about everything, the pandemic left its mark on real estate, causing fluctuations in prices and shortages of housing, labor, and materials. Now, rising interest rates have thrown in another factor for buyers to navigate; however, despite all the changes, the market is beginning to settle down into a trajectory similar to what we were seeing in pre-pandemic years.
Trends Are Evening Out
Percent Share of Homebuyer Online Behavior by Year and Month (%):
The early “lockdown” months of the pandemic saw a huge dip in home-buying engagement online as people hunkered down where they were. However, as the initial strict lockdowns came to an end, people began reevaluating the spaces where they’d been stuck for the past several weeks and home-buying behavior increased, staying at high levels throughout 2021.
Now in 2022, our data shows that the trend of looking to buy a house seems to be mimicking 2019’s trajectory, with an increase in interest during the spring months and a gradual tapering off through summer. The increasing federal interest rates may be helping to normalize these trends, and hopefully, this is a sign of calmer real estate days ahead!
Home Improvements Are More Popular Than New Homes
Year-Over-Year Category Changes (%):
Over the last year, greater numbers of our audience members have engaged with content about home improvement rather than moving, with a 35% increase in home improvement engagement and a 12% decrease in engagement with topics related to moving. Real estate listings are also down by 29% in the last year. This may signal that our audiences are more interested in blooming where they’re planted these days rather than starting over—perhaps because the space from the aftermath of the pandemic has allowed people to truly settle in.
Home Beautification Over Massive Remodeling
Home Improvement Topic Change in Behavior Year-Over-Year (%):
While homeowners are more interested in improving their spaces overall, trends show that they’re now focusing on aesthetic changes rather than extensive remodels—possibly to stay within budget as inflation increases prices across all types of materials. Interest in painting and finishing touches has increased by 68% this year, while large-scale changes like roofing, flooring, and doors & windows are all trending downward. Homeowners are focusing on creating a beautiful space they enjoy being in rather than committing to a complete overhaul.
Home-Listing Sites Surge in Popularity
Brand Engagement Growth Year-Over-Year (%):
Looking at home-listing sites has become more than a way to find and sell homes—now they’re a source of entertainment, too. From SNL skits about the fantasy of gazing at luxury homes to social media sites highlighting strange housing finds, listing sites like Zillow have entered the cultural lexicon.
Our data shows that Zillow’s brand engagement has increased by 113% in the last year, followed by other popular brands like Redfin, Realtor.com, and VRBO. Airbnb experienced a decrease in online engagement, perhaps due to controversies about its role in driving up housing prices. Hardware stores like Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, and Home Depot are also seeing a decrease in engagement, perhaps due to the decrease in extensive remodels mentioned above or sticker shock as inflation has begun hitting store shelves.
The housing market has been all over the place in the last few years, but things are finally beginning to calm down. The rush on buying new homes has slowed, and fewer people are undertaking massive remodels—although home improvements, in general, are now more popular than moving. Day-dreaming will continue on sites like Zillow and Redfin, but the actual rush of buying and selling is slowing, leaving the housing market back on level ground.
Interested in activating our housing-related segments to keep up with the trends, or digging into our data yourself? Reach out today to learn more about how ShareThis can help.