Do Google Searches Predict the Direction of Home Prices?

by UrbanTurf Staff

Courtesy of the always interesting New York Times blog Economix comes news of a report from the Bank of England which concludes that there is “a strong correlation between how often people search online in England for ‘estate agents’ and actual house prices.” (Estate agents are what the Brits call real estate agents.) The bank has started tracking Google searches for terms related to the housing and job market in an effort to get a more current picture of the country’s economy.

As the chart below illustrates, there does seem to be a relation between the search term estate agent and home prices.

Do Google Searches Predict the Direction of Home Prices?: Figure 1

The data is by no means 100% accurate, and the authors of the report admit its limitations (there is only a short backrun, there is no information on the actual volume of searches, etc.). Nevertheless, the report concludes that the data can be useful:

In line with studies for other countries, internet search data can help predict changes in unemployment in the United Kingdom. These appear to be as useful as existing indicators. For house prices, the results are somewhat stronger: search term variables can outperform some existing indicators over the period since 2004.

For the full report, click here.

See other articles related to: real estate agents, home prices, google

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/do_google_searches_determine_the_direction_of_home_prices/3651


  1. chuck said at 9:41 pm on Monday June 13, 2011:
    Correlation is not causation.
  1. anon said at 2:24 am on Tuesday June 14, 2011:
    Since prices generally go up when there is more interest/demand, when there is more interest/demand in real estate, there is generally more interest in estate agents, thus reflecting the higher interest/demand, thus foretelling the likely rise in prices.

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