For All You Data Junkies Out There

We’ve been getting local about our markets to see which towns should be hot spots for Redfin. We’re sharing the analysis for all you data junkies out there.

Here’s what we already know about Redfin buyers: they’re very likely to work in high-tech fields, they usually have a college degree, and they typically buy a house for about $500,000. Like these people:

Redfin Customers

We looked for similar demographic characteristics in targeted areas within each of our markets, and combined that with recent activity on Redfin’s site. The data we considered was:

  • Visits to Redfin.com, from Google Analytics. Note that Google tracks where people are when they search, not where they’re searching on the Redfin map.
  • Redfin closed deals. Useful because many Redfin buyers hear about us through word of mouth. We got this from our own database, which surprisingly is only about 50% complete.
  • Demographics of the area. We considered median household income, homeownership rate, and percent of population with bachelors’ degrees or higher, as reported by the US Census. If we couldn’t find city-level data, we used county data.

We used visits to rank order the towns, and then added the other data. The top 20 towns searching on Redfin in the Boston area look like this:

City Redfin.com Visits Redfin Transactions Homeownership Rate Median HH Income % With Bachelors’
Boston 16.6% 5.3% 32.2% $39,629 35.6%
Somerville 12.2% 5.3% 30.6% $46,315 40.6%
Allston 10.7% 0.0% 32.2% $39,629 35.6%
Brookline Village 5.9% 0.0% 69.7% $67,066 42.9%
Newton 2.1% 0.0% 69.5% $86,052 68.0%
Cambridge 2.0% 15.8% 32.3% $47,979 65.1%
Brighton 1.9% 0.0% 32.2% $39,629 35.6%
Milton 1.9% 0.0% 69.7% $67,066 42.9%
Jamaica Plain 1.7% 5.3% 75.6% $60,359 27.8%
Watertown 1.6% 5.3% 47.0% $59,764 47.2%
Newtonville 1.4% 0.0% 69.5% $86,052 68.0%
Natick 1.3% 0.0% 61.7% $62,854 43.6%
Medford 1.2% 0.0% 58.6% $52,476 31.7%
Charlestown 1.1% 0.0% 32.2% $39,629 35.6%
Arlington 1.1% 0.0% 61.7% $62,854 43.6%
Waltham 0.9% 5.3% 46.0% $54,010 38.4%
Woburn 0.9% 5.3% 61.7% $62,854 43.6%
Framingham 0.9% 0.0% 61.7% $62,854 43.6%
Malden 0.9% 10.5% 43.3% $45,654 26.2%
Concord 0.9% 5.3% 61.7% $62,854 43.6%

What’s interesting about the Boston data? Well, a lot of the neighborhoods where people are searching for homes- Somerville, Allston, Cambridge- have very low homeownership rates. But if you know Boston, you know that’s because these are where a lot of college students live. They’re mostly in apartments but maybe they’re looking for a place to buy after graduation. Or maybe they’re just blowing off class and surfing the Net.

Let’s go down the coast to Washington DC. This is a big area that covers several counties in Virginia and Maryland, as well as the cities of Washington DC and Baltimore.

City State Redfin.com Visits Redfin Transactions Homeownership Rate Median HH Income % With Bachelors’
Washington DC 20.9% 20.5% 40.8% $46,211 39.1%
Arlington VA 14.5% 9.1% 43.3% $66,626 60.2%
Baltimore MD 5.1% 4.5% 50.3% $29,792 19.1%
Falls Church VA 3.4% 0.0% 60.6% $82,906 63.7%
Takoma Park MD 2.9% 0.0% 68.7% $76,957 54.6%
Reston VA 2.7% 2.3% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Alexandria VA 2.7% 6.8% 40.0% $60,715 54.3%
Dunn Loring VA 2.2% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Chevy Chase MD 2.0% 2.3% 68.7% $76,957 54.6%
Merrifield VA 1.9% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Rockville MD 1.8% 2.3% 68.7% $76,957 54.6%
Herndon VA 1.7% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Oakton VA 1.7% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
West Mclean VA 1.6% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Bethesda MD 1.5% 0.0% 68.7% $76,957 54.6%
Sterling VA 1.4% 0.0% NA $NA NA
Fairfax VA 1.3% 0.0% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Annandale VA 1.3% 2.3% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%
Garrett Park MD 1.3% 0.0% 68.7% $76,957 54.6%
Vienna VA 1.2% 2.3% 70.9% $83,890 54.8%

Washington DC and Arlington ranked near the top, which wasn’t surprising to us. What was surprising was Baltimore: not often regarded as a tech center, and with a much lower median household income than Washington DC, the citizens of Baltimore showed themselves to be quite tech-savvy by searching Redfin for homes to buy (full disclosure: I’m from Baltimore).

Flying across the country to our home market of Seattle, we found some odd patterns. Note that in this data set we didn’t include the three demographic variables from census data, but we did include more of the Google Analytics statistics about the behavior of visitors.

City Redfin.com Visits Redfin Transactions Bounce Rate
Seattle 46.1% 43.2% 2.8%
Bellevue 15.9% 24.6% 1.9%
Kirkland 9.3% 5.3% 1.8%
Medina 4.3% 0.1% 2.2%
Mercer Island 2.9% 1.0% 2.4%
Lynnwood 2.7% 3.2% 2.0%
Seahurst 2.6% 0.0% 2.8%
Redmond 2.0% 2.5% 2.4%
Renton 2.0% 3.3% 1.8%
Bothell 1.5% 1.1% 2.1%
Tacoma 1.2% 1.1% 3.4%
Federal Way 1.1% 1.2% 2.3%
Mountlake Terrace 0.9% 0.1% 2.4%
Kent 0.8% 1.6% 2.4%
Mukilteo 0.8% 0.0% 1.9%
Kenmore 0.7% 0.2% 2.0%
Bremerton 0.6% 0.0% 5.3%
Puyallup 0.5% 0.6% 3.8%
Spokane 0.4% 0.0% 30.5%
Auburn 0.3% 0.6% 1.6%

The best brain candy in the Seattle area data-set, in my opinion, is Medina. This city is right on the coast of Lake Washington and has some pricey real estate. It’s a small area, and so it’s not surprising that Redfin has closed few deals there. What is surprising is that Medina is the fourth largest searcher in Seattle. Could it be that Medina’s most famous resident, Bill Gates, is addicted to searching real estate on Redfin?

Also interesting is the data for Spokane, where Redfin has a lot of searchers but a high bounce rate. Bounce rate is when a searcher finds a site and immediately leaves it. The searchers of Spokane probably realized that Redfin doesn’t have service in Spokane, and left. This makes me think that Redfin should add coverage in Spokane.

Data on our California markets isn’t included here. In San Francisco, the exercise was less illuminating because San Francisco and San Jose by far dominated our search results and closed deals. We can get more granular data, down to the neighborhood level, but we didn’t for this exercise. Ditto for Southern California.

Discussion

  • http://www.storagealexandria.com Storage Alexandria

    Found your site on technorati, under “DC Real Estate “.

    Cool post. Is “redfin”, short for something?

  • http://www.redfin.com Ellie at Redfin

    Thanks for reading, SA. Redfin’s not short for anything, but it’s also the name of a fish found mostly, I believe, around Australia.