is continuing to track real estate search trends and we are thrilled to report another quarter with a significant increase!  An analysis of data for Q4 in 2012 displays the most frequently searched cities as well as those with the fastest growth.

The winter months are known to be a relatively slow season for real estate and for home buyers.  Yet, we see significant signs of improvement when the search activity increases.  In general, the searches performed with homes “for sale” on increased 35 percent compared to the same quarter the year before.  Plus, there are 10 cities that exceed this total search growth with much larger increases.

The top 10 cities displaying the largest increases in homes “for sale” searches from Q4, 2011 to Q4, 2012:

  1. Brentwood, TN – 113%
  2. Katy, TX – 109%
  3. Louisville, KY – 107%
  4. Murfreesboro, TN – 102%
  5. Carmel, IN – 102%
  6. Nashville, TN – 98%
  7. Alpharetta, GA – 94%
  8. Winston Salem, NC – 89%
  9. Columbia, SC – 89%
  10. Charlotte, NC – 86%

Brentwood, TN, an affluent suburb of Nashville, tops the list with the highest increase of almost 113 percent.  Nashville, TN previously appeared in our Q3 “State of the Rental Market” report and also ranks among our top 10 list, but in the #6 position with a 98 percent increase.  In the Q3 report, we stated that the unemployment rate at the time of writing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was well below the national average at 6.4 percent.  Additionally, Murfreesboro, TN, a city that is part of the Nashville metropolitan area, appears in the #4 spot with a 102 percent increase.  It seems that, because of a much healthier job market, Nashville could be growing in population overall which would lead potential home buyers to strongly consider the suburb areas too.

Katy, TX, neighboring suburb to Houston, is seemingly becoming more popular. It comes in second with the largest increase – 109 percent – in searches.  This area previously landed in our Schools of Thought on the Real Estate Market report because it represented one of the most searched zip codes, and it was also included in the last Q3 “State of the Housing Market” report.  Perhaps the close location to Houston is fueling this increase; Houston shows a fast improving job market and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, represents one of the metropolitan areas with one of the largest over the year employment increases.

Two cities, Columbia, SC (ranked #9 with almost an 89 percent increase) and Charlotte, NC (with almost an 86 percent increase) also appear in the top list from our Q4 “State of the Rental Market” report (hyperlink).  This could indicate an increase in the overall population to these areas and the idea that potential residents are considering both options to rent or buy.

From this report, we learn that many of the cities with the largest increases are neighbors to major cities with improving job markets in the U.S.  With more space and affordable options, potential home buyers seem to be strongly considering the suburban areas for their next purchase.

Check out the complete list of top 100 searched cities here:

*Data represents the top 100 searched cities on as reported from Adobe SiteCatalyst, which are then ranked according to their percent increase.

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