The real estate slump may still be helping to drag down the economy, but real-estate sites like Trulia and Zillow seem to be holding up just fine. In fact, the number of monthly unique visitors to Trulia has more than doubled to 2.4 million over the past year, according to comScore. Zillow, in contrast, remained steady at 1.9 million U.S. uniques in July.
The strength of these real estate sites in a down market makes sense since prospective buyers (those that are left) now have more time to look around and research their dream homes. Both Trulia and Zillow do a good job of letting you slice and dice your search by any number of variables (price, location, number of bedrooms, square footage, type of home). Unfortunately, neither one offers a way to filter out homes that suck.
Both also offer market stats, and additional information about local schools and such. Zillow perhaps has a few more bells and whistles, such as its famous Zestimate, which might explain why visitors pent 41 million minutes on the site in July versus 12 million minutes for Trulia. People love doping vanity searches and checking out how much their neighbor’s houses are worth. Zillow also serves up larger photos of houses than Trulia in search results. So maybe Zillow is doing a better job with engagement.
Or maybe home searchers are finding what they need faster on Trulia. From my own anecdotal experience, Trulia seems to offer more comprehensive search results for specific towns and neighborhoods. One example: Trulia turns up 97 results for a house search in Chappaqua, NY; Zillow turns up only 83. (I’m sure I could come up with a counter-example for Zillow if I looked long enough). But when you are looking for a house, that is really all that matters. The real-estate search engine that captures the most listings and shows you the most relevant ones will win. For whatever reason, it looks like Trulia is winning mind- and market-share.
What’s your favorite real-estate search site?