Web location, location, location

Our phones have been ringing lately with calls from brokers of mortgages, windows, cabinets and siding services — all asking how to advertise now that the real estate bubble has burst.

We say go online. A new report predicts that real estate web spending will outpace offline media by 2012. Today, about 65% of real estate advertising is spent in newsprint vs. 35% online; that will soon be a 50-50 split. Google, behavioral targeting, videos in banner, and real estate content verticals should all be in your ad mix.

The web is also a treasure trove for home targeting data. WSJ has published free maps of areas of the U.S. where home mortgage defaults will be highest, when $600 billion in U.S. adjustable rate mortgages reset at much higher rates next year. (Note, even the affluent are going to get squeezed in 2008, and this will set off hot spots of home sales churn.) Companies such as Mediassociates can provide customized analysis of ZIP Codes where home values or market churn are highest (and of course tie it to brilliant media plans). You can also find interesting heat maps at Zillow showing areas of hot home values, such as these pretty pictures of Florida.

The average home price in Florida is $212k, but by zooming in, you’ll find orange and red highlights indicating homes of higher value ranges. Plot it against your own geo target, and even a small business owner can pinpoint home-service marketing at the ZIP Code level. Isn’t it nice to find such sweet tools for free online?

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