internet searches correlating with home sales?

Not sure what to do with this, but it looks intriguing….
A firm that analyzes web search traffic (not sure how, but that’s another story) published a chart showing a "rough correlation" between internet searches for "houses for sale" and the National Association of Realtors monthly data on existing home sales.

Hitwise is a blog I am not familiar with (thanks to Inman News blog for the ‘get’). See their link here
As noted by a comment on their blog, their data goes back only one year. An interesting test will come with next month’s NAR numbers, which the Hitwise search data anticipates will come in stronger than previous months.
Who cares if there is a correlation? I suppose one advantage (if the data holds) is that the Hitwise web search data is quicker to collect and report than NAR’s data (so monthly numbers can be more current). It is at least interesting (and to some, probably powerful) if web search data can be found that closely correlates with consumer behavior, such as purchasing a house. All this is "crude" to the same extent that any national data is (ever hear the expression that "real estate is local"?), but even crude data can have value.
Tune in when the August numbers are reported in a month or so….
© Sandy Mattingly 2006
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