From binge-watching Netflix to daydreaming about travel, escapism has come in many forms for Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. But one form of pandemic escapism has become so popular that it has created a new term: "Zillow surfing."
Whether you’re in the market to buy a new home or you’re just an avid house hunting daydreamer, surfing Zillow has surged in popularity as Americans have flocked to the real estate listing website to find their dream home, as well as to seek out luxurious, weird, and unique listings.
According to Zillow, the website attracted more than 9 billion visits to its website and app in 2020. With millions of listings on Zillow, it is easy to get lost in endless photos of stunning exterior designs and sprawling mansions. We were curious to learn more about what is on the minds of house hunters and daydreamers, so Omnis Panels recently surveyed Americans across the country to ask them all about their Zillow surfing habits.
According to respondents, 75% have Zillow surfed or used Zillow specifically to find unique, odd, or luxurious homes. Overall, 83% have used Zillow without any intention of buying a home. Some Zillow surfers have taken their escapism one step further as 45% have taken an in-person tour of a home without any intention of making an offer or buying it.
How often are people Zillow surfing? According to respondents, more than half of users say they use Zillow on a weekly basis, and, on average, users are spending two hours on the site during a session. With those types of user habits, it is no surprise that 62% have lost track of time while Zillow surfing.
Zillow Surfing and Covid-19
With quarantine and social distancing measures in place, many Americans have had plenty of downtime throughout the last year. According to respondents, Zillow has been eating up a chunk of that downtime as 68% admit they have been spending more time on Zillow during the pandemic. The same percent of respondents also say that Zillow surfing has been "therapeutic" and "soothing."
Zillow Surfing Habits
When it comes to where people Zillow surf, a majority admit to scrolling through homes while they are in bed. According to respondents, 60% say they Zillow surf before falling asleep and 26% say they open the Zillow app or website right after they wake up in the morning.
Zillow Surfing at Work
According to respondents, Zillow usage has also spilled over into their professional lives. Overall, 61% of users admit to Zillow surfing during work and nearly a quarter (23%) say they have been caught Zillow surfing by their boss or manager.
Users also admit to snooping on neighbors, friends, and co-workers through Zillow. According to respondents, 62% have looked up a neighbor’s home to see what the inside looks like, 62% have looked up a friend’s home to see the purchase price and 39% have snooped on their boss or manager’s home via Zillow.
Not only are users snooping on others through Zillow, but they are also sharing their favorite listings with others. According to respondents, more than half (52%) of users say they share unique or luxurious listings with friends and nearly one-third (30%) have posted listings on social media.
Is Zillow surfing just a form of escapism that will be relegated to life during the pandemic, or will the trend continue to grow and live on? Only time will tell whether people are just daydreaming or are they actually in the market to buy a home.
For this report, we surveyed 1,446 self-reporting Americans from April 12 to April 27, 2021. 54% were female and 45% were male with an average age of 38. 55% of respondents were homeowners, 43% were renters and 2% lived with family. Income: Under $20K: 12%; $20-40K: 23%; $40-60K: 24%; $60-80K: 20%; $80-100K: 10%; Over $100K: 11%.