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No surprise: Warm weather real-estate searches ramp up when bitter cold strikes

By Berit Griffin January 29, 2014

Allow us to set the scene:

A homeowner in suburban Minneapolis sits at the computer on a blustery January night. In the background, a meteorologist on the TV offers that tomorrow’s high temperature will be (-8) degrees. The five-day forecast doesn’t show any signs of improvement. The homeowner, flummoxed at the thought of another winter trapped indoors, visits a real-estate website to check home prices in Tampa. Low-60s in January? Now that sounds like a great way to live, she thinks.

It has been a truly cold winter, not just in Minnesota, but across the country. Homeowners in northern climates have had their limits tested several times over, and it’s not even February yet. It has been enough to make some toy with the idea of moving south, even if it’s just a fantasy.

If you happen to be a building professional who operates in a warmer climate, real-estate website Trulia says this bitter-cold winter has probably been good for business. During these cold spells, more homeowners in cold climates are researching the real-estate markets in warmer climates. But are you taking advantage?

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Trulia analyzed online searches originating from metro areas where the average daily January temperature was below 41 degrees Fahrenheit between Dec. 1, 2013, and Jan. 21, 2014. Those cold weather metros are in the Northeast, the Midwest, Plains and Mountain states and even some of the South. Trulia used temperature data from the National Climatic Data Center.

“In those areas, for every 10-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature, searches for warm regions increase 4.4%, according to Trulia. In comparison, searches for properties nationwide increase roughly 2.6% for every 10 degree-drop in temperature in cold places.”

Several markets have been particularly warm — pun intended — as it relates to real-estate searches during cold snaps. Trulia shared this data from its survey:

So, how can you take advantage of this information? Ramp up your search-engine marketing investments during nationwide cold spells and pay for top placement on real-estate sites like Trulia and Zillow. Oh, and don’t be afraid to tout how warm the weather gets during the depths of winter. Crown molding is nice, but these shoppers are in it for the exterior as much as the interior!