It is official, the UK is a nation obsessed with property as new research shows that 63% peruse real estate websites even when they are not looking to buy.
Some 2.6 million browse at least once a day and 38% admit they checked the price of someone else’s home online in the last year, according to the poll from Direct Line Home Insurance.
People say that they look at online property portals to keep a check on prices, look at design trends and also daydream about a future home.
The most enthusiastic property browsers were in Sheffield where 74% admitted to window shopping for homes followed by 72% in London and 70% in Newcastle.
The nosey ones check out local properties with 52% looking at the price of neighbour’s homes, 38% looking at properties belonging to family member, 31% ‘snooping’ on close friends and 21% on work colleagues.
The motivations for keeping such a close eye on property websites range from nosiness to fantasy. Some 60% said that they did so to keep a check on local property prices, whilst 40% were researching for potential areas to move to.
Some 34% said it was all about day dreaming about homes they can’t afford, 29% said it was to check out interior design ideas and 26% were checking the value of their own home.
‘We are a nation of property obsessives with very good reason. Our homes are our castles and becoming a home owner or even climbing the ladder in the UK is a huge challenge and aspiration for many,’ said Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance.
‘Property sites are a source of information and inspiration and browsing these sites has become something of a past-time for millions of people. The flip side of this trend is that those who list on these sites exhibit their homes and belongings to millions of strangers every day,’ she pointed out.
As a result she suggests that people selling their home should make sure the pictures online to do not show expensive personal possessions or personal information and even suggests that the full address should not be given.
‘If you are selling your home on a property website, make sure it is protected with a fully comprehensive home insurance policy,’ she added.
The survey also found that people aged 18 to 34 were more likely to use property sites to window shop and snoop than any other age ranges. In fact, some 8% of this age group admitted to checking the price of a potential new partner’s home in the past year and 6% said their same about their ex.
Men that use property websites were also more prolific users, the average male that window shops online does so the equivalent of nine times each month compared to the female counterpart who browses six times a month.