A new study on home buying and the Internet shows over half of Canadian adults have used the Web as part of their home buying experience, up from 27 per cent in 2000 and 53 per cent in 2001.
Banking, real estate and job searches are now the three most popular reasons for adults to use the web, according to IPSOS Reid.
The IPSOS Reid study, part of the Canadian Interactive Reid Report, said the use of real estate websites has increased in all regions of Canada, but has picked up more noticeably in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada. The use of real estate websites in Atlantic Canada has more than doubled to 53 per cent in the latest study, compared to 28 per cent a year ago.
The report provides 15 reasons why Canadian home buyers use the Internet. First is convenience and the ability to look for a home without having to leave home. Consumers also like to customize their search, like the 24-hour access, and feel that Internet real estate websites save them time in the home buying process.
There are disadvantages as well: respondents said the information on real estate websites is not complete or is out-of-date, there are neighbourhood details lacking, and are concerned about misleading photos.
According to IPSOS Reid, the results also show how the Internet works with a REALTOR® but will not replace a REALTOR®.
“While the internet has certainly done a lot to empower those looking to purchase or sell real estate, REALTORS® continue to have a major role in the process,” according to the report.
Eighty-five per cent of those who said they used the Internet for real estate purposes, specified the advantages of using a REALTOR®, with the most popular advantages being that they are experienced and knowledgeable.
Other respondents said a REALTOR® can tailor the search, thus saving the buyer time. The number of respondents who cited negotiating expertise as a REALTOR® service tripled from last year’s study.
The IPSOS Reid study said 86 per cent of respondents felt using the Internet allowed them to look at more houses, while 75 per cent said it saved them time.
Among Canadian adults who used the Internet to shop for real estate, 36 per cent went to see a home they first saw on-line. Another 14 per cent contacted the real estate agent, and nine per cent purchased a home they first saw on-line.
The IPSOS Reid study said 78 per cent (four of five) of Canadian adults have access to the Internet, and that 67 per cent access the Internet using a home computer.
In the three regions of Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, more than 80 per cent of adults have access. Internet access is lowest in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
And is the Internet being used to find real estate in Winnipeg? You bet!
The website operated by the Winnipeg Real Estate Board (www.wreb.ca) has averaged over 47,000 visitors a month this year, and those visitors looked at almost 650,000-page views of Winnipeg MLS® properties in August alone.
And, the national site (www.mls.ca), where all MLS® listings are compiled from 103 real estate boards across Canada, visitors to just the Winnipeg portion of that site generated over 15-million property searches, resulting in almost 1.5-million page views in the past 30 days.
People are interested in Winnipeg’s resale market!
If you’re not on the Multiple Listing Service®, you’re not on mls.ca and you’re just not in the market.
Buying or selling — partner with a REALTOR®.