For All You Data Junkies Out There

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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:

CityRedfin.com VisitsRedfin TransactionsHomeownership RateMedian HH Income% With Bachelors’
Boston16.6%5.3%32.2%$39,62935.6%
Somerville12.2%5.3%30.6%$46,31540.6%
Allston10.7%0.0%32.2%$39,62935.6%
Brookline Village5.9%0.0%69.7%$67,06642.9%
Newton2.1%0.0%69.5%$86,05268.0%
Cambridge2.0%15.8%32.3%$47,97965.1%
Brighton1.9%0.0%32.2%$39,62935.6%
Milton1.9%0.0%69.7%$67,06642.9%
Jamaica Plain1.7%5.3%75.6%$60,35927.8%
Watertown1.6%5.3%47.0%$59,76447.2%
Newtonville1.4%0.0%69.5%$86,05268.0%
Natick1.3%0.0%61.7%$62,85443.6%
Medford1.2%0.0%58.6%$52,47631.7%
Charlestown1.1%0.0%32.2%$39,62935.6%
Arlington1.1%0.0%61.7%$62,85443.6%
Waltham0.9%5.3%46.0%$54,01038.4%
Woburn0.9%5.3%61.7%$62,85443.6%
Framingham0.9%0.0%61.7%$62,85443.6%
Malden0.9%10.5%43.3%$45,65426.2%
Concord0.9%5.3%61.7%$62,85443.6%

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.

CityStateRedfin.com VisitsRedfin TransactionsHomeownership RateMedian HH Income% With Bachelors’
WashingtonDC20.9%20.5%40.8%$46,21139.1%
ArlingtonVA14.5%9.1%43.3%$66,62660.2%
BaltimoreMD5.1%4.5%50.3%$29,79219.1%
Falls ChurchVA3.4%0.0%60.6%$82,90663.7%
Takoma ParkMD2.9%0.0%68.7%$76,95754.6%
RestonVA2.7%2.3%70.9%$83,89054.8%
AlexandriaVA2.7%6.8%40.0%$60,71554.3%
Dunn LoringVA2.2%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
Chevy ChaseMD2.0%2.3%68.7%$76,95754.6%
MerrifieldVA1.9%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
RockvilleMD1.8%2.3%68.7%$76,95754.6%
HerndonVA1.7%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
OaktonVA1.7%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
West McleanVA1.6%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
BethesdaMD1.5%0.0%68.7%$76,95754.6%
SterlingVA1.4%0.0%NA$NANA
FairfaxVA1.3%0.0%70.9%$83,89054.8%
AnnandaleVA1.3%2.3%70.9%$83,89054.8%
Garrett ParkMD1.3%0.0%68.7%$76,95754.6%
ViennaVA1.2%2.3%70.9%$83,89054.8%

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.

CityRedfin.com VisitsRedfin TransactionsBounce Rate
Seattle46.1%43.2%2.8%
Bellevue15.9%24.6%1.9%
Kirkland9.3%5.3%1.8%
Medina4.3%0.1%2.2%
Mercer Island2.9%1.0%2.4%
Lynnwood2.7%3.2%2.0%
Seahurst2.6%0.0%2.8%
Redmond2.0%2.5%2.4%
Renton2.0%3.3%1.8%
Bothell1.5%1.1%2.1%
Tacoma1.2%1.1%3.4%
Federal Way1.1%1.2%2.3%
Mountlake Terrace0.9%0.1%2.4%
Kent0.8%1.6%2.4%
Mukilteo0.8%0.0%1.9%
Kenmore0.7%0.2%2.0%
Bremerton0.6%0.0%5.3%
Puyallup0.5%0.6%3.8%
Spokane0.4%0.0%30.5%
Auburn0.3%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.

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