Search for Property Rentals Drop by Half a Million as Punters Look to Buy Instead

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Punters search out property for sale over rental with Scotland proving prime location

Greenlight’s latest quarterly report covering the real estate sector reveals that unlike February, there were more online searches made by UK consumers in May for places to buy as opposed to rent.

The latest quarterly analysis of online search data by leading independent search and social marketing consulting and technology firm Greenlight reveals that unlike February, there were more online searches made by UK consumers in May for places to buy as opposed to rent. The report, ‘Real Estate Sector Report May 2010‘, also reveals that when it came to sales by location, Scotland proved the most sought after region. Edinburgh was most popular followed by Glasgow then Aberdeen. Cumulatively, they accounted for 19% of all location-specific sales keyword searches.

Using industry data and proprietary technology, Greenlight identified and classified 2,800 of the most popular search terms used by UK consumers when they went online in May to look for accommodation to rent or buy. The research profiled generic lettings keywords, generic sales keywords, lettings by location and sales by location. Greenlight also used the data to compile its quarterly league table of the top 60 real estate companies and aggregators, in both natural and paid search, based on their website’s visibility in relation to the most popular search terms. Greenlight also ranked the 15 most proactive real estate brands and aggregators in social media.

Some key findings reveal:

  •     There were 1.7 million searches performed for real estate-related keywords. This was a 10% increase since April, when over 1.5 million searches were made
  •     Of the total, 681,000 consumer searches were sales-related whilst 630,000 were for lettings. This compares to 619,000 and 1.3 million, respectively, in February
  •     The term ‘Houses for sale’ accounted for 301,000 searches in May, which was 17% of all real estate-related searches, compared to 13% in February. In fact, 75% of all generic sales searches consisted of just three keywords, ‘Houses for sale’, ‘Property for sale’ and ‘Home for sale’. Websites which achieved visibility for those few terms secured much of the overall share of voice
  •     Overall, RightMove was the most visible real estate website in natural search, achieving 80% visibility. It was also the most visible site for sales-related searches, achieving a dominant 99% visibility through ranking at position one for 25 keywords
  •     For sales by location, the terms ‘Edinburgh property’ and ‘Glasgow property’ were searched for 22,200 times each. Cumulatively they accounted for 16% of a total of 283,000 location-specific searches. FindaProperty was the most visible website for sales by location achieving 47% visibility
  •     Searches for rental by location accounted for 150,000 searches with London featuring in 16% followed by Glasgow with 5% then Edinburgh (4%)
  •     Zoopla was the most visible advertiser in paid search achieving 67% visibility

To gauge social media interaction with brands, Greenlight monitored the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the top 15 brands in its integrated league table, in order to assess how many ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ each has. Greenlight ranked brands based on the cumulative value of their ‘fans’ and ‘followers’, a score which it terms the Social Media Popularity Index (SMPI). It further analysed the proactivity of brands by considering the number of ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ brands produced for consumers to interact with in May. Greenlight’s SMPI reveals:

  •     Gumtree was the most followed real estate-related brand in social media, with a combined following of over 10,000 on Facebook and Twitter
  •     VivaStreet was by far the most interactive brand, as it cumulatively produced 3,292 ‘posts’ and ‘tweets’ in May. As it is a multi-channelled website, some content on its Twitter account was not related to property, yet over 1,100 ‘tweets’ displayed live updates of flats to rent in various locations
  •     By comparison, a large number of real estate brands utilised social networking relatively little. UNITE-Students currently does not have official Facebook or Twitter accounts and therefore it is missing out on vital interaction
  •     Interestingly, RightMove had multiple Twitter accounts which displayed up-to-date listings of properties available in specific areas of the UK and overseas; for example, RMBuyOxford had 714 social media consumers following real estate updates in the Oxford area and RMBuyBrighton had 1,079 for Brighton

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Notes to Editors:

Greenlight is an independent specialist search and social marketing consulting and technology firm, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, Vodafone UK, New Look, Interflora, Co-operative Financial Services and ghd, and a multitude of awards to its name, Greenlight is a leader in the search marketing space, and is recognised worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future of search.

In addition, Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector, publishing widely read industry reports, original research, speaking at trade events, and delivering a highly respected search training programme in conjunction with the IDM. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York.


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