NAR: Real estate searches on Google have increased 253 percent in four years

We live in a time where most Americans have access to the internet on a daily basis, so when it comes to activities like buying a home, it makes sense that more people are turning to their laptops or smartphones to peruse the housing market.

In an effort to more closely examine this growing trend, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and internet search giant Google recently released a joint study examining the role that digital media plays in the consumer home search purchase.

The study showed that over the past four years, real estate-related Google searches have grown a whopping 253 percent – and that's only taking into consideration one of the many search platforms available on the internet.

"Increasingly, online technologies are driving offline behaviors, and homebuying is no exception," Google head of real estate Patrick Grandinetti was quoted as saying in an NAR press release. "With 90 percent of homebuyers searching online during their homebuying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information – for example through paid search, relevant websites, video environments and mobile applications."

Real estate agents shouldn't be too discouraged by this news, though. According to the study, 88 percent of buyers use an agent – and 67 percent do so frequently – when they're considering purchasing a house. As for television, billboards and print channels, the data shows that these resources play a minimal role in consumers' research and decision-making.

Whether or not people use the internet or a real estate agent to find a home, they'll still need to take out a mortgage in order to purchase it. With this in mind, lenders may want to invest in loan management software to ensure that borrowers can stay on top of their monthly payments.