Zillow and Trulia were mentioned most often by builders and architects when the Professional Builder Gauging the Selling Market survey asked: What is the biggest single change during the past two years in the way you conduct market research? The online real estate brands, both owned by Zillow, provide listings and home valuation data, which respondents used to complement other sources for taking the pulse of the market. Social media was the second most mentioned change in market research activity, but the value of its utility was mixed. Some respondents lauded it for helping them see what the market is responding to, while others, such as one Illinois designer, wrote that the information is unreliable, saying, “You cannot believe what is posted.”
Another popular response to the question about how builders and architects have changed the way they gather market intelligence was “not much change at all.” These respondents saw more value from information gleaned directly from their local contacts. “Regional on-the-ground research is more predictive these days over MLS [Multiple Listing Service] or past market research numbers and trends,” a Kentucky custom home builder wrote. For more results about market research preferences, see the charts that follow.