Real Estate Realism or Voyeurism: What a New Study Intimates About the DC Home Buyer

  • May 7th 2018

by Nena Perry-Brown

Real Estate Realism or Voyeurism: What a New Study Intimates About the DC Home Buyer: Figure 1
Home in DC's "most popular" neighborhood, owned by commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

Being able to search for homes online has become the norm for prospective home buyers. However, it has also resulted in the rise of the real estate voyeur, someone who spends hours browsing through home listings that they dream of purchasing, but will likely never be able to. A new study by Zillow may give credence to the rise of the real estate voyeur.

Real Estate Realism or Voyeurism: What a New Study Intimates About the DC Home Buyer: Figure 2
Most popular DC neighborhoods based on average views per listing. Click to enlarge.

The study looked at markets across the U.S., analyzing the number of times listings in different city neighborhoods were viewed on the real estate company's website during the first quarter of 2018, and then deemed the neighborhoods with the highest number of page views to be a city's most popular. What the study concluded in DC was that some of the most popular housing markets in the city are also home to DC's most expensive homes. Woodland-Normanstone Terrace is identified as the most popular neighborhood in DC, for example, but it is one that many city residents probably couldn't find on a map, and carries a median home price of $3.5 million. Kalorama, Kent, Georgetown and Berkley, neighborhoods with median home prices in excess of $1.5 million, round out the top five. 

There is good reason to be skeptical toward the conclusion in the analysis — or perhaps rethink how you define "popular". Could it be that most of the page views on Zillow stem from curiosity and the desire to live vicariously through luxury home listings than a realistic desire to buy a home in these areas? 

The report concedes as much: "While this doesn’t show a likelihood that more people will be buying homes and moving in, it does show how many people wish they could, or are curious about the neighborhood."

Here is another theory. There are two neighborhoods that have become home to DC's version of a celebrity in the last couple years, including various members of the Trump cabinet or bold face names like President Barack Obama, Jared and Ivanka Kushner and Jeff Bezos. Those neighborhoods are Woodland-Normanstone and Kalorama, the top two neighborhoods on Zillow's most popular list for DC and probably near the top of the list for real estate voyeurs across the country. 

See other articles related to: kalorama, woodland normanstone, zillow

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/real-estate-realism-or-voyeurism-what-a-new-study-intimates-about-the-dc-bu/13940.

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