Nov 13, 2023 - Economy

100% of buyers now shop for homes online, new report says

Share of buyers who say they used the internet at some point in their home search process
Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

All homebuyers now use the internet to find a house, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Why it matters: A bombshell verdict could upend America's broker fee system, which has stayed about the same, even as house hunters increasingly scroll listings online.

Driving the news: A federal jury found powerful trade group NAR conspired with two of the country's largest brokerages to keep commissions on home sales high, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

  • Sellers typically pay 5%-6%, which is split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent.

The big picture: Websites offer shoppers easy access to photos and videos, tax histories and other information about a house.

  • More than half (52%) of recent buyers found the home they ultimately purchased through the internet, per the report. That share was 37% in 2010.

What they're saying: Real estate agents remain a vital part of the home search process, according to the NAR.

  • In addition to looking online, "buyers are working with a real estate agent or broker to help them find the perfect property," says Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research.
  • The group has said it plans to appeal the $1.8 billion verdict, and ask the judge to reduce the damages awarded.

Between the lines: One report predicted legal challenges could cut the $100 billion a year paid in commissions by 30%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Go deeper: NAR CEO resigns days after group loses court case

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