Infographic Of The Day: When Housing Searches Get Intense

Trulia's newest interactive toy is a surprising lens onto what we're doing every day at work--and the dynamics of the country's bruised and achy real-estate market.

Trulia, a real estate website, has released another impressive interactive chart, in their continuing quest to create new tools for picking about housing data. This time, the focus is on when people actually search for housing listings. Much of it conforms to your experience, but the interactions on the chart--and the possibilities of the data visualization--are top-notch.

The basic format shows, in a color-coded grid, the intensity of housing searches based on the time of day, and that day of the week. Red, of course, is more intense. And here’s what it looks like for people all over the country, searching on their computers:


[Click to view interactive version]

That’s a surprising little revelation about the way we work: Desktops are the province of our 9-5 gigs, so its funny that people tend to search for housing at the times you think they’d be most busy with other things. Put another way, Trulia is a site mostly catering to people searching for homes for themselves, rather than real estate agents. Thus, maybe you’d expect that they’d be searching for houses during lulls in their workday--hey, everyone knocks off a little at work, and there’s no shame in that (right, boss?).

Instead, the opposite seems to be happening: Searches peak at about the times that, in my experience and probably yours, are the busiest times for work. And that manages to confirm a funny thing I’ll bet you’ve noticed about your own work habits: The busier we are, the more we tend to do. We don’t spread our productivity out evenly--rather, we have periods of intense activity where we’re trying to do everything.

Things change, of course, when you look at the searches originating on mobile devices. Here, people search when they’re on the move:

Changing gears a bit, one of the most interesting facets of the chart is that not all real-estate markets are created equal. For example, New York, where relatively large numbers of people rent rather than own, there isn’t much search activity at all:

Compare that with someplace like Nevada, which was one of the epicenters of the housing bubble. You’d likely expect that state to have cooled down on housing activity, what with all the falling prices and such. But no: The market is working as you’d hope, and the depressed values seem to creating even more intensity in the market. Buyers, clearly, are out shopping:

Check out the chart here.

Add New Comment

4 Comments

  • Andy

    It would be interesting to see this type of info from other platforms...Craigslist, Realtor.com for example. I've got trackers on a lot of my own ads and listings and find similar patterns, but with different day/time combos. Demographic diffs between search platforms?

    Great stuff tho...

  • bzdyelnik

    This is a great visualization.  I'd like to see the heatmaps normalized by traffic for each hour as well.

  • Paula Thornton

    It also suggests where the economy at large is less active (e.g. lower housing activity) -- see Oklahoma and Kansas, for example.