trends

The December Slump

by Victor Lund on January 6, 2014

In the final hours of the year, real estate hits the skids. Even in 2013, when the threat of newly imposed mortgage regulations gave consumers strong reason to buy before year-end. The WAV Group index measures month-to-month changes in online performance across its brokerage clients. Given that the traffic is in the millions, it is probably statistically relevant, but you may want to use this data more as a benchmark to contrast against your data. Listing counts are down about 30% between November and December. This is a common reality. Many sellers living in their home have little interest in showing their property during the holiday season. Additionally, many REALTORS® enjoy a holiday vacation. Broker website traffic dipped just under 40% from November to December. Interestingly enough, some third party website reports from portals saw traffic numbers in broker regions dip by as much as 60% in some areas. Traffic drops on upstream websites like the MLS and other third party websites impact broker website performance by causing a drop in referral traffic. Referral traffic from third party websites averaged a dip of 52% from November to December. There is an obvious correlation between inventory volume and traffic volume, although it is difficult to magnify. Fewer listings mean fewer instances of everything that drive consumer traffic. There are fewer auto-responders, fewer page views, and fewer homes that match consumer search criteria. Correspondingly, there is less offline advertising, including yard signs. Many of the real estate magazines combine December and January publications to save advertisers money and to beef up the size of the publications. Our area real estate magazine was more of a brochure than a magazine at 12 pages – an eight-page signature and a four-page cover. Hardly worth the effort. Expect everything to bounce back in January as consumers and the industry refocus on housing. Happy New Year.    

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