While it’s ever so nice to be one of the top-trafficked real estate Web sites, Hitwise’s Sept. report indicated that only 29 percent of online visits to sites in the Business and Finance – Real Estate category visited the top ten sites. Another 11 percent went to the next most-trafficked 10 percent, while yet another 28 percent visited the sites ranked 21-100 on the Hitwise list. Most people stayed a little over 10 minutes each time, a slight drop from the prior month.

Realtor.com took first place with nearly 7 percent category market share. Numbers two through ten for traffic were Yahoo Real Estate, Zillow, ZipRealty, ServiceMagic, Rent.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com, MSN Real Estate and RE/MAX Real Estate.

Inman News pointed out that RealtyTrac and MLSFinder.com both fell off the top 20. Why RealtyTrac, a foreclosure service, would lose rather than gain visitors during this economic crisis is curious. We followed a discussion on the Hitwise blog, in which Experian Hitwise director of research noted that the share of search queries that include the keyword ‘foreclosure’ had jumped to near-record levels in recent weeks.

Inman’s Matt Carter, however, commented that RealtyTrac isn’t really a source of foreclosed properties for sale and doesn’t really correlate well with consumers searching for foreclosed bargains.

“[RealtyTrac] includes not only homes repossessed by lenders but “pre-foreclosures” subjected to default notices or scheduled for auction because buyers are behind on payments,” wrote Carter. “Not all of those homes are actually going to complete the foreclosure process. When you go to RealtyTrac or other Web sites that offer “foreclosure listings,” you will see many distressed properties that are not actually for sale, because their owners are still trying to avoid losing their homes. Foreclosure listings sites may also include homes that are already in the hands of lenders (real estate owned, or REO properties), but have not yet been put up for sale.”

Among those real estate sites no longer part of the Hitwise Top 100 are ERA.com, JustListed.com, HouseValues.com and Northern New England Real Estate Network.

Here’s the report (PDF.)