First-Time Buyers Turn to Google for Advice

So far this year, Google searches related to buying a first home have surged to 44 percent of all homebuying-related search activity—up 11 percentage points compared to a year earlier, according to a new study by Chase Home Lending. This may mean you’ll want to increase content on your website geared toward first-time buyers.

“I had assumed that we would start to see millennials come [into the market] in force in the next two years,” says Amy Bonitatibus, chief marketing officer at Chase Home Lending. But “they’re already here and buying today.”

First-time home buyers made up 33 percent of all home sales in May, up from 30 percent a year prior, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. First-time buyers are a key component to a healthy housing market, allowing current homeowners to trade up and incentivizing builders to construct more new homes. However, millennials have been slow to transition to homeownership because of stagnant wage growth and student loan debt.

That may be changing. Consumers under the age of 35 accounted for 36 percent of Chase’s mortgage origination volume in 2016, which is up 16 percentage points from the year prior, Chase notes in its study. Housing affordability is another issue on more consumers’ minds. Google searches about housing affordability rose 34 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. The Chase Home Lending study shows that the top mortgage-related questions on Google tended to be variations on “how much mortgage can I afford?”

Source: “First-Time Home Buyers Show More Interest in Market,” The Wall Street Journal (July 14, 2017)