Google Search Trends Reveal Real Estate Pain Points Through COVID-19


Written By
STOREYS Editorial Team

We don’t even need to state it: the pandemic has taken a serious toll on everyone, everywhere. And now, an analysis of Google search trends has captured exactly where Canada’s real estate realm has felt the most pain over the last 21 months.

According to Point2Homes, the impacts of COVID-19 showed clear differences across different categories of the real estate market’s participants; homebuyers, homeowners, and renters all dove into their own unique online inquiries through these trying times.

Some search trends, you’ll see, carried more undertones of “stressed-the-heck-out” than others.

To conduct the study, Point2Homes dove into some of 2020 and 2021’s most used and most frequently occurring real estate terms. Those terms were then compared, in their number of average monthly searches, to 2019. The result is a snapshot of how the pandemic may have influenced the behaviours and preferences of buyers, renters, and homeowners.

READ: Timing the Housing Market is a Fool’s Errand, Here’s Why

In the case of homebuyers, the search phrase “houses for sale near me” jumped 123% in 2020 when compared to 2019; a trend that may have been fuelled by a need for increased space.

Following that rise, in the pandemic’s second year, “realtors near me” and “movers near me” soared 132% and 125% respectively. In other words, buyers were staking their claims and laying down (new) roots.

On the flip side, searches for “foreclosure houses” and “tiny houses for sale,” while popular in 2020, slowed down in 2021.

Homeowners, meanwhile, prioritized home improvement. Or, at least they did at first. This is a search trend that makes obvious sense: with many spending much more time at home than they did prior to COVID-19, homeowners were initially keen on taking advantage of the situation.

For this group, searches for “home office design,” “how to paint kitchen cabinets” and “house renovation” increased more than 50% in 2020 compared to 2019, but stabilized — and even fell — through COVID’s second year. Perhaps the decline stems from those projects being completed. Or, maybe folks simply got tired of grinding through their pandemic fatigue. (For positivity’s sake, we’ll hope for the former.)

Through the same time period, homeowners also increasingly searched for “mortgage refinancing,” “how much is my home worth?” and “flip house.”

Finally, renters showed an increase of searches for “rent relief” and “eviction moratorium” during COVID’s first year. Through 2021, searches relating to renter evictions continued to grow, but “rent relief” and “rent assistance” inquiries slowed significantly.

At the same time, inquiries for “apartment with balcony,” “renting with pets,” or “pet-friendly rent” jumped from 2019 to 2020, proving that it hasn’t all been financial doom-and-gloom. Through 2021, searches for “penthouse for rent” and “houses for rent” maintained steady growth as well.

The essence maintained throughout all three of these Google Search categories? Change.

Clearly, the last nearly-two-years have significantly altered the way Canadians relate to their homes. Whether that means a need for increased space, a changed space, or a totally new space, depends entirely on the life happening inside said home.

And of course, change is constant — which offers something to look forward to. Here’s hoping that when real estate inquiries are analyzed at this time next year, they’ll be among with searches for “meals to feed a crowd,” “surprise party venues,” and “how to get your ears to stop ringing after a live concert.”

Written By
STOREYS Editorial Team





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