Homebuyers and the representation of spatial markets by information providers

Richard J. Dunning, Andrew Grayson
2014 International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis  
Is the dominant housing search method in the UK influencing market boundaries? The relative importance of different information sources in homebuyer's search behaviour has changed over the last two decades. Today, there is a greater reliance upon Internet based property search engines as an information source. Yet, information sources offer varied services and portray different representations of spatial housing markets. Therefore, homebuyers access to information about housing opportunities
more » ... markets has changed. The advice of estate agents, though not impartial, derives from an organic experience embedded in the local geography, whilst property websites tend to utilise digital distinctions created using GIS tools that dissect local area statistics. Yet, websites can offer homebuyers information about a greater number of properties than individual estate agents are able to. Estate agents are able to interpret, extrapolate and in some cases refine the housing attributes (including location) that a household is searching for, whereas at present most property search websites use a binary distinction and hard boundary definitions to select housing opportunities. These variations in spatially embedded 'knowlegde', the number of properties available and interpretability between information sources, represent various strengths and weaknesses. This paper draws together these questions and opens up the implications of changes in the reliance on particular information sources to individual home buyers and the spatial nature of housing markets. These questions form the basis for a new research agenda into home buyers perceptions of Internet based property search engines and their effect upon the housing market.
doi:10.1108/ijhma-07-2013-0045 fatcat:b6eep4udr5divollfwsrurbszu