A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

“buy a house, sell a home?” redux

A while ago, I wrote about whether there was evidence that people tend to “buy a home and sell a house,” and used Google’s n-gram  data (based on web documents) to suggest this wasn’t the case. I happened to come across this post today, and wondered whether some of the query streams I have access to now might say something to this. I looked at our frequently “sell” or “buy” co-occur with “house” or “home” in a stream of about 36 million queries.

buy & home : 393
buy & house: 525

sell & home: 396
sell & house: 420

buy & home/buy & house: 0.74
sell & home/sell & house: 0.94
(buy & home + sell & home)/(buy & house + sell & house) : 0.83

Unlike the n-gram data, people are more likely to use “house” in queries that include “buy” or “sell,” (taken separately, or taken together). This may indicate that people searching for information on real estate tend to use “house,” while people advertising real estate tend to use “home” (“sell a home” was over 7.5x more likely than “sell a house” in the document-based ngram data). As far as people searching goes, they tend to “buy a house” and “sell a house.”

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