Zillow retained its lead in Q4, Homes.com came in fourth
Traffic data from Comscore showed Zillow with twice as many visitors as second-place Realtor.com, while Homes.com appeared to lose some ground.
- Zillow remains the most popular home search site by far, though its traffic softened slightly each month of the fourth quarter.
- Realtor.com was solidly in second place for each month of the quarter.
- Redfin and Homes.com are competing for third place, though Homes.com saw significant fluctuations in total visits during the quarter.
For the top real estate search sites, the contest for web traffic isn't solely about consumer attention and agent loyalty. It's also about credibility and trust — just ask the leaders of Realtor.com and Homes.com, who've zeroed in on those topics in recent months.
And then there's bragging rights. But those belong to Zillow.
Zillow remains on top, though traffic dipped toward year-end
Based on data from the analytics firm Comscore, Zillow's dominance, as measured by unique visitors and total visits, remained unchallenged through the end of 2023.
First, let's break down those metrics: "Unique visitors" counts all the different people who visited a website or app. "Total visits" counts how many times a different person accessed the site content, with at least a 30-minute break between visits. So a person who visits Zillow twice in a week counts as one unique visitor, but contributed two total visits.
According to Comscore, here's how Zillow performed during the fourth quarter (figures are rounded to the nearest million):
Unique visitors: 100 million in October; 97 million in November; 95 million in December.
Total visits: 405 million in October; 383 million in November; 374 million in December.
Q4 totals: 292 million unique visitors and 1.16 billion total visits.
Realtor.com holds steady in second place
Comscore's data shows Realtor.com in a distant, though comfortable, second place position after Zillow and ahead of Redfin and Homes.com.
Unique visitors: 50 million in October; 47 million in November; 46 million in December.
Total visits: 132 million in October; 123 million in November; 147 million in December.
Q4 totals: 143 million unique visitors and 402 million total visits.
Homes.com made waves when the site announced that it had bucked Realtor.com from the second place spot last September, but Comscore's data shows that Realtor.com was solidly in the second place spot each month in the last quarter of 2023. Comscore data for September showed the rivals being neck-and-neck in unique visitors that month, with Realtor.com tallying 51 million and Homes.com seeing 47.7 million.
While Realtor.com's numbers remained in that 50 million range during the fourth quarter, Homes.com dropped to around 30 million unique visitors each month.
There's been a big focus on traffic from Realtor.com, though CEO Damian Eales told Real Estate News in November that his company wanted to be in the top spot with "no tricks."
"We want to be number one on that headline metric, but we won't do it at any cost, and I think our customers know that poor-quality audience and stunts lead to low-quality leads," Eales said.
Redfin and Homes.com battling for bronze
Redfin took third place in each month for unique visitors and total visits in Q4, while Homes.com came in a close fourth place for some months.
Redfin's Q4 traffic:
Unique visitors: 35 million in October; 34 million in November; 35 million in December.
Total visits: 91 million in October; 81 million in November; 72 million in December.
Q4 totals: 104 million unique visitors and 244 million total visits.
Like Redfin, Homes.com didn't see significant fluctuations in unique visitors, though its total traffic was more variable.
Homes.com trailed close behind:
Unique visitors: 31 million in October; 28 million in November; 29 million in December.
Total visits: 73 million in October; 49 million in November; 67 million in December.
Q4 totals: 88 million unique visitors and 189 million total visits.
A spokesperson for Homes.com noted that the company is launching a consumer marketing campaign this quarter, which is likely to drive more traffic. He added: "Homes.com is the fastest-growing home search site in the industry. Nobody can dispute that."
Homes.com president David Mele has repeatedly said that CoStar is aiming to be the most-visited home search portal and has vowed to dethrone Zillow's dominance. However, Mele also told Real Estate News in November that when it comes to competitors, "they all buy traffic." He said that ultimately, consumers will determine the value of the different search sites.
All four of the major search portals are expected to formally report fourth-quarter traffic numbers during their upcoming Q4 and full-year earnings calls.