How Social Media Factors in Home Sales

If you haven’t yet considered how social media can play a role in home sales, maybe this will sway you.

Zillow Inc., Seattle, said home listings across the U.S. that receive 30 or more “favorites” on Zillow within their first week on the market sell in under two weeks and for more money, which Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell said is a sign of how competitive the housing market has become.

Conversely, Zillow said homes that get 10 or fewer favorites in their first week go for less money and take more than a month to sell.

“Favoriting” a home on Zillow is a way for shoppers to save homes they’re interested in coming back to later, making it easy to show a friend, partner or real estate agent. And as home buyers skew increasingly younger and more savvy on social media, the language of social media counts for something.

According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, nearly 70 percent of sellers say seeing how well their home is performing compared to similar homes on the market is an important way for them to gauge interest. About 60 percent of sellers say an important way for them to gauge interest is to know how many people have looked at their home online.

Zillow reported homes in San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, a few of the hottest markets in the country, get the most favorites within their first week on the market. In San Jose, the typical home gets 17 favorites in the first week and spends just 12 days on the market. Nearly 65 percent of these homes sell above asking price.

In Seattle, the fastest growing metro in the country, the typical home gets favorited 14 times in its first week on the market, selling in just 11 days. Some homes in Seattle, however, get up to 40 favorites in the first week and typically sell in just seven days. Among these homes, 75 percent sell over asking price.

Low inventory helps drive competition, Gudell noted, with 11 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, the greatest drop in inventory since July 2013.

“When shoppers favorite a home on Zillow, they may be in the active home-shopping process and not just casually browsing,” Gudell said. “Shoppers may also favorite homes they want to keep checking in on or save to share later with a partner. Homes with built-up favorites often denote desirable homes in popular locations–a sure indicator that you’re not the only one eyeing the home of your dreams.”

Not all cities within a hot metro are equally competitive, however. In the majority of metros analyzed, homes listed for sale in the largest city in the metro get more favorites in its first week on the market than homes in other cities within the metro.

This trend is most pronounced in Seattle, where listings in the city itself get about 22 favorites in the first week, but listings in outlying cities get just 13. In Riverside, Calif., listings in the city itself get 15 favorites in the first week on the market, while listings in outlying cities get eight.