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Nancy Starczyk: Home buyers add social media

Posted: July 16, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 16, 2014 2:00 a.m.

 

More home buyers are turning to social media and the Internet in the home-buying process than ever, according to a recent survey.

Reflecting trends seen throughout modern society, more than three-fourths of California home buyers used social media in their home search, up from 52 percent who used it in 2011.

According to the “2014 Survey of California Home Buyers” developed by the California Association of Realtors, buyers said they primarily used social media to obtain buying tips and suggestions from friends (44 percent), neighborhood information (44 percent), and to view their agents’ Facebook pages (42 percent).

Mobile technology and the Internet continued to be important tools in the home-buying process, with 91 percent saying they used a mobile device to access the Internet during the course of their home purchase.

Buyers used their mobile devices to look for comparable home prices (78 percent), search for homes (45 percent), and take photos of neighborhoods, homes, and amenities (43 percent).

Conversely, with the increased use of social media, fewer buyers “Googled” their agent (50 percent in 2014, down from 68 percent in 2013), turning to agents’ Facebook pages instead.

In another sign of recent market competitiveness, more than nine in 10 buyers (91 percent) made one or more other offer, with an average of 3.6 offers in 2014, up from three offers in 2013.

Additionally, buyers viewed a median of 20 homes in 2014, up from 10 last year.

Given the limited supply of homes available for sale, fewer buyers were satisfied with their home purchase than last year. Only about half of the buyers were satisfied with their purchase in 2014, down from two-thirds (66 percent) in 2013. Nearly half (46 percent) of buyers felt they “settled” on their home purchase in 2014, up from 34 percent.

Additional survey findings include:

• Buyers cited price decreases (54 percent), receiving a promotion or raise (34 percent), low interest rates (29 percent), and favorable prices/financing (17 percent) as the top reasons for purchasing a home.

• Echoing a recovering housing market over recent years, buyer optimism of home prices also continued to improve, with the vast majority of buyers (81 percent) believing that home prices will rise in five years and 60 percent believing that prices will rise in one year. This is an improvement since 2009, when only 35 percent of buyers believed that prices would rise in five years, and only 8 percent who believed prices would rise in one year.

• Higher down payments are still the norm in this market, with buyers putting an average of 28 percent down on their purchases. The average down payment has been higher than the traditional 20 percent since 2009.

• More than nine in 10 buyers (92 percent) obtained a fixed-rate loan, a 23 percent increase from 2009, when only 69 percent obtained a fixed-rate loan, reflecting low rates and the desire for certainty as the market gets back to basics.

• Nearly all surveyed buyers (88 percent) used a real estate agent in 2014, down slightly from 91 percent in 2013. Reflecting a growing use of the Internet, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those who used an agent found their agent online, compared to only 38 percent who found their agent online in 2003.

Nancy Starczyk is President of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals.

 

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