Google Reveals Top Real Estate Sites
June 1, 2010 by Alice Allan
Google has just released a list of the 1,000 most visited websites on the Internet, and the highest-ranked website in the real estate category is China’s soufun.com.
Overall, soufun.com came in at number 141 on the list, which is based on unique visitor numbers as measured by Google Ad Planner. soufun.com had 18,000,000 unique visitors, a reach of 1.2 percent, and 250,000,000 page views for the month of April 2010.
Google has classified a number of other websites in the “real estate” and “rentals and referrals” categories, including China’s koubei.com, which came in at 398th place, and the Ukraine’s yandex.ua in 698th place. However, the two websites focused specifically on real estate to make the list are both from the US.
realtor.com came in at 786th place, with 5,100,000 unique visitors, 0.3 percent reach, and 340,000,000 page views. In 934th place was zillow.com with 4,200,000 unique visitors, 0.3 percent reach, and 310,000,000 page views.
The number one website on the list was facebook.com with 540,000,000 unique visitors and a reach of 35.2 percent. Google says the list excludes adult sites, ad networks, domains that don’t have publicly visible content or don’t load properly, and certain Google sites.
- Google Reveals Real Estate “Vision”
Since Google first began adding real estate listings to Google Maps in mid-2009, the world of online real estate has been monitoring the company's every move. Each upgrade brought more speculation on how Google was planning to change things for property portals, real estate agents, and property hunters. Now, we have a clearer idea of where Google is headed....
- Real Estate Added to Google Maps – What it Means for Australian Property Portals
In Australia and the US, Google has added properties for sale to its mapping site – maps.google.com. Users of Google Maps are now able to see a selection of homes for sale and rent plotted on the maps. These homes for sale seem to be sourced from Google Base – Google’s classifieds engine. It is free for anyone to upload a listing and this can be done through an online interface or through an XML data feed. The inclusion of property listings from Google Base onto Google Maps has some parts of the Australia real estate world abuzz with thoughts of the end of market leaders’ realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. However, while this launch is new and innovative in the Australian market, a lot has to fall in place before realestate.com.au and domain.com.au are truly affected by the “entry” of Google into the Australian real estate advertising scene....
- Google Real Estate in Europe – What is All the Fuss About? Lessons from Australia
The news yesterday that Google was “entering” the UK/European market sent the share prices of Rightmove and Seloger into a tailspin. The Seloger share price closed down 5.7% at €23.50 while the Rightmove share price was hammered a whopping 10.3% to 499.9p. So let’s look at what happened. An article by the Financial Times (Dec 2 titled “Google set to enter UK property market”) seems to have set the cat amongst the pigeons. The article stated that Google is in talks with British estate agents and that “experts” say that an entry by them to the market could pose a serious threat to existing property websites. The article didn’t talk about what Google was going to do and Google didn’t comment. So there is really not much to go on. So the only guide we really have as to what Google may do in the UK and Europe is what they have done in Australia. Did Google really have that much impact on the Australian market?...
- The Challenges for Google Real Estate
The launch of Google Real Estate search on Google Maps in Australia, the US and New Zealand has shaken the property portal world. It is expected that Google Real Estate will make an appearance in the UK and German markets shortly. Last week we published our initial thoughts on what the launch of Google Real Estate will mean for the existing portal sites in Australia. These thoughts are equally applicable for portal sites around the world. Having followed the debate about Google Real Estate and its potential impact on portal sites, we thought it would be good to outline what we believe has to fall into place for Google to truly impact the property portal market leaders around the world....
- Google Rumoured to be Hiring Online Real Estate Sales People
Rumours emanating out of Sydney today indicate that Google is aggressively looking to hire a field sales team to target the Sydney real estate market. Sources said that Google had approached a number of sales people from domain.com.au in an effort to hire them as field sales people for the Google real estate initiative. Sources also believed that Google may be initially targeting the Inner West region of Sydney. If these rumours are true, is Google entering the traditional online classifieds space with a traditional online classifieds model?...
By DAWN WOTAPKA
At least three major Manhattan landlords have decided to stop paying broker's fees on some rental properties, signaling that many tenants need to brace themselves for extra expenses when apartment shopping.
This is a shift from last year, when landlords—desperate to fill empty units—would cover the broker's fee, typically a month's rent.
But with demand for rentals rising and vacancy rates falling, some of the city's biggest landlords have notified brokers that they will no longer pick up the fee. That, of course, means renters must pay up.
"The pendulum is swinging back to a landlord's market," said Gary Malin, president of brokerage Citi Habitats. "Owners are going to do what's in their power to stop overpaying, in their eyes, to attract clientele."
In a recent email, Ogden CAP Properties LLC said it won't pay fees at several properties, including Normandie Court on East 95th Street and One Lincoln Plaza on West 64th Street. It declined to comment.
Pan Am Equities Inc., another large apartment owner, intends to stop paying the fee on June 1, according to brokers. Pan Am declined to comment.
The rental unit of Related Cos., which has about 5,000 units across Manhattan, will stop paying the fee May 31. "There has been a serious uptick in the market. We have seen across-the-board a strengthening in the marketplace," said Daria Salusbury, a Related senior vice president. Related's vacancy of less than 1%—down from about 3.5% a year ago—"is better than projected," she said.
Vacancies are low across Manhattan, which is in its peak leasing season.
April's rate came in at 1.23%, the lowest since June 2008, according to Citi Habitats. That was down from 1.38% in March and 2.28% a year ago. The average rent for studios and one-bedrooms – which make up most local rental stock – rose 2% from March to $1,799 and $2,390, respectively. Studio rents haven't been this high since December, 2008. Two bedrooms saw a slight rise to $3,299, from $3,289. Related is modestly increasing monthly rent in Chelsea and downtown, Ms. Salusbury said.
AvalonBay Communities Inc. in most cases is no longer paying the fee for leases in its seven New York City communities—including four in Manhattan.
The company, with 6,900 apartments in New York and New Jersey, says the Big Apple's improvement is being felt in suburban markets: Many of its communities in New Jersey, Westchester County and Long Island, typically not big broker fee markets, have seen rental increases in recent months.
"Regionwide, market conditions have improved over a year ago," said John Christie, senior director of investor relations and research.
To be sure, some local landlords continue to cough up the fee. The LeFrak Organization, which owns about 2,500 Manhattan rentals, pays the broker fee in buildings with several units available or with larger apartments, which rent for more and can take longer to fill.
Still, LeFrak's occupancy is about 99% currently, meaning it's unlikely to have to pay out much in broker fees.
"The fee is something that comes and goes based on supply and demand," said Jamie LeFrak, a company principal. "If it makes reasonable sense to pay brokerage commissions, we'd always prefer not to cut out the broker. Keep the brokers happy because that's who brings you customers."
Not surprisingly there's some consumer resistance to renters having to pay the broker fee. Some prospective tenants won't look at properties if they are responsible for the fee.
Write to Dawn Wotapka at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joining Webby nominees nytimes.com/realestate and nakedaparments.com in the New York market is urbanedgeny.com, which just launched on 14 April. The website’s focus is on simplicity: “It shouldn’t take a genius to find your perfect home,” the homepage declares.urbanedgeny.com is only allowing listings from landlords, bypassing brokers. It is not charging for these listings or for house hunter access. The new website explains that it makes money from “value-added” marketing services for property owners and managers.
“We syndicate owner listings around the web. We build websites, we create and install signage, create and place Internet ads, and a whole lot more,” urbanedgeny.com says, before emphasising that its users are not obliged to buy these services.
urbanedgeny.com is also making use of Twitter to promote its listings. Each day at 4pm, users receive a Twitter feed of all the day’s new listings matching their desired neighbourhood and home type.
“This site gives the power back to the consumer. It allows free flow of information for a more efficient marketplace, saving owners and consumers lots of money,” said Ilana Schwartz, vice president of new business development for urbanedgeny.com.
While urbanedgeny.com is entering a market that already includes a number of established players, it says “hundreds of major landlords” are already using it to list their properties.
Management Companies Offering Concessions
Check back often and save!
This list provides information on buildings that have specified that there are currently incentives for tenants. These deals are usually limited time offers, so you may want to check back frequently to get the best deal.
|Kips Bay Court||One Month Free Rent|
|2 Gold Street||One Month Free Rent|
|45 Wall Street||One Month Free Rent|
|455 West 37th Street||TF Cornerstone||Two Months Free Rent|
|505 West 37th Street||Two Months Free Rent|
|Chelsea Centro||One Month Free Rent|
|Liberty Towers||Reduced Security Deposit|
|Gracie Mews||Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc||One Month Free Rent|
|Plaza East||TF Cornerstone||One Month Free Rent|
|Plaza West||One Month Free Rent|
|The Colorado||JRT Realty Group, Inc||One Month Free Rent|
|1481 Fifth||One Month Free Rent|
|The Octagon||One Month Free Rent|
|1270 Amsterdam Avenue||Dermot Realty Management Company||One Month Free Rent|
|11 Cornelia Street||One Month Free Rent|
|121 Seaman Avenue||Dermot Realty Management Company||One Month Free Rent|
|99 John Street||TF Cornerstone||One Month Free Rent|
|Atlas NY||Gotham Organization||One Month Free Rent|
|4720 Center Blvd||One Month Free Rent|
|328 West 47th Street||One Month Free Rent|
|348 West 47th Street||One Month Free Rent|
|375 Edgecombe Avenue||J&M Realty||One Month Free Rent|
|266 Washington Avenue||Dermot Realty Management Company||One Month Free Rent|
|30-36 Sickles Street||Dermot Realty Management Company||One Month Free Rent|
|The Oxford Houses||Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc||One Month Free Rent|
|Pacific||One Month Free Rent|
|The James Madison||One Month Free Rent|
|The Thomas Jefferson||One Month Free Rent|
|Riverside at Newport||One Month Free Rent|
|East Hampton||One Month Free Rent|
|Southampton||One Month Free Rent|
|415 East 90th Street||Shalimar Management||One Month Free Rent|
|333 East 95th Street||Shalimar Management||One Month Free Rent|
|410 Lefferts Ave||No Security Deposit for Qualified Tenants|
|219 east 89th||One Month Free Rent|
|3 Family House Woodside / Maspeth||One Month Free Rent|
|119th & Third||Muss Development Company||Free Fitness Center|
|The Madison||One Month Free Rent|
Thanks to Pandora we no longer have to search for new music. Pandora searches for us. We set up a play-list on a genre, song or band and new tracks present themselves based on common attributes. When we like or dislike each new track, Pandora learns our tastes. And continues to refine the tracks it adds to our play-list. Extend that matching logic across the entire user base and the app becomes exponentially smarter. More valuable.
It makes other ways of searching for music feel archaic.
Like searching for real estate listings is today.
There’s no question that designers and UI experts have made real estate as pretty as can be. And developers have made it simple and quick. Everything from walkability scores to education data and local blogs have been mixed into the experience. But in the end, searching for homes is still arduous. Users are forced to manually weed through their options.
One of the most ironic facets of real estate search as it is today is the set of fields commonly provided to users at the onset of the process (location, beds, bath, price). For these things are not always what becomes important to them in the final leg of their decision making. How often did your seller not buy the 4 bed, 3 bath, $650,000 home and instead choose the 3 bed, 2 bath $500,000 place because it had a better view, a bigger back yard, a different school district, or a finished basement to die for?
Real estate search today might be pretty, mashed and fast. But it’s not smart. Or intuitive. Or built to do anything other than to provide us a fabulously detailed patch of content we have crawl through.
But imagine a Pandora for real estate. A system that allowed users to tailor a search by liking and disliking the listing results the system provides them based on their broad parameters. By crunching our responses along with those collected by all who came before us, search could be considerably more productive.
The nuances of how this could be created are not lost on me. But if Amazon can do it with books and Pandora can do it with songs, I’m convinced real estate could do it with listings. Especially if we could find a way to suck in the user generated content – the things people are thinking, tweeting and facebooking about properties. Yes, a legal minefield – but one we should attempt to sweep.
This sort of thing would be possible if we placed more energy into what could be rather than protecting what was. Or worse, indulging the real estate molehills this industry loves to turn into mountains.
A map here, an API there – big deal. This is what I’m talking about: