Online Housing Searches: A Year in Review

House hunters and looky-loos alike did a lot of online searching for housing during the 2023 calendar year. 

“A lot” is a massive understatement, because on Zillow’s data, people conducted 250 billion searches on their platform alone, showing the wide range of desires and preferences among the country’s home shoppers. 

These searches include AI searches—which Zillow introduced earlier this year—allowing people to search in a conversational manner and not just with keywords and categories. This search data provides a unique glimpse into what Americans were searching for in a home this year. 

According to Zillow’s internal data, the top searches people made included the following search terms: 

  1. Garage: Practical and convenient storage for vehicles. 
  2. Backyard: A private outdoor retreat. 
  3. Fireplace: A feature offering warmth and coziness. 
  4. Walk-in closet: Space and organization for storage. 
  5. Patio: An extension of indoor living for outdoor relaxation. 
  6. Open floor plan: Modern, interconnected living spaces. 
  7. Pool: A luxury, especially in warmer areas. 
  8. Family room: Space for shared moments. 
  9. Basement: Versatile extra space for various uses. 
  10. Granite counters: Durable elegance in kitchens and bathrooms. 

“Natural language search gives us this ability to look at unique and highly local trends across the U.S.,” said Nicholas Stevens, VP of product, Artificial Intelligence, at Zillow. “This lets us go deeper than the typical search filters, helping us better show shoppers homes with the features they really want.” 

Hot and cold: Climate control systems rule home searches 

Climate control Systems—centralized AC and heating—emerged among the top three search terms in 22 out of 30 cities. Central heating took the No. 1 spot in these southern cities with typically mild climates: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Nashville, San Antonio and Tampa. Buyers’ heightened interest in heating features might be a response to shifting climate patterns, influenced by recent occurrences of extreme cold snaps. 

Search standouts: 

One of the top searches in Atlanta is for a double vanity.  While buyers in Naples are looking for tennis courts, clubhouses and tile roofs, Miamians and New Yorkers prioritize fitness areas and gyms. 

Buyers in Philadelphia are most often searching for street parking and finished basements. San Antonio shoppers want an “eat-in kitchen.” Tucson is the only city with an architectural choice among the top five searches across all cities, favoring “contemporary style” homes. 

City sights or mountain heights: Buyers are searching for a home with a view. In Seattle, mountain views, city views and water views rank among buyers’ top five searches, respectively, 

In Miami, buyers are looking for water views, while buyers in Atlanta and San Francisco search most often for city views. In Colorado Springs, mountain views are a top search term. 

Click here to see Zillow’s research in its entirety. 

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