Australians spend about eight months dreaming about buying a new house before taking any active steps to purchase, new research on real estate behaviour has found.
The research, commissioned by realestateview.com.au, found homebuyers then spend about 10 months, on average, actively in the market before deciding on a property and finalising the sale.
The "dreaming" phase is when a person first considers moving house or buying property, but hasn't started heavy researching. They are reasonably sure what type of property they want but may be undecided on the details, perhaps even the location.
The next step in what realestateview.com.au calls the "path to purchase" is the "considering" phase. It lasts about six months, during which the person starts to look at various properties for sale.
"They are actively seeking ideas and inspiration, nutting out the details of what they want in their new home or investment," Paul Tyrrell, chief marketing officer of realestateview.com.au, said.
"In the considering phase, buyers are firming on plans to move in the next year, and price and repayment considerations are starting to come into the picture."
During the "active" phase, which lasts three to four months, the buyer narrows their property choices, conducting inspections, perhaps putting in an offer and arranging finance approvals. It's a task-driven phase involving internet searches and information gathering.
"At last, the buyer reaches the 'purchase' phase when the 'sold' sign goes up and they can look to move in," Mr Tyrrell said. "Looking back, many buyers realise it's been almost 20 months since they first entertained the idea of moving. They'll wonder where the time went!"
Mr Tyrrell said realestateview.com.au commissioned the research in conjunction with ACM's research arm Chi Squared to help it better understand how to support property buyers to find the information they were seeking at the right time and in the right place.
ACM, publisher of this website, and realestateview.com.au have built a market-leading, multi-faceted property media and data offering.
"The research largely confirmed what our experience was telling us," Mr Tyrrell said.
"In the dreaming phase, people are drawn to real estate sections in newspapers. As they move into the considering phase, print remains strong but general online searches and property websites become more important.
"In the active phase, buyers are most likely to use a dedicated real estate portal like realestateview.com.au to find exactly the property they are after."
ACM and realestateview.com.au have developed a three-step approach to property marketing and sales that is designed to talk to buyers at every stage of their "path to purchase".
"Our bundled solution captures people at every stage of their property journey - whether they are just thinking about their dream home or actively seeking to buy," Mr Tyrrell said.
"We offer the power of print through ACM's newspapers, digital extension products that use social media and off-site targeting to reach buyers and then of course, we have our realestateview.com.au listings platform.
"Our aim is to help vendors reach potential buyers at all stages of their path to purchase."
The Chi Squared research was conducted in November last year. More than 1200 people participated in the research, with the biggest cohort between 25 and 34 years and living in regional centres.