Ever since Margaret Thatcher declared her belief in a ‘property-owning democracy’ and introduced Right to Buy in 1980, the UK was converted into a nation obsessed with residential properties.
Let’s be honest, many of us are preoccupied with our homes and particularly how much they are worth. Just turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper on almost any given day and you will find a story about property prices or mortgages and how they are becoming easier or harder to obtain.
A new survey by Direct Line Home Insurance shows that 63 per cent of Britons browse property websites even when they are not looking to buy.
Some 2.6 million browse portals like Zoopla or Rightmove at least once a day and 38 per cent admit they checked the price of someone else’s home online in the last year.
The most enthusiastic property browsers were in Sheffield where 74 per cent confessed to window shopping for homes followed by 72 per cent in London and 70 per cent in Newcastle.
People say that they look at online property portals to keep a check on house prices, look at design trends and also daydream about a future home.
“We are a nation of property obsessives with very good reason. Our homes are our castles and becoming a homeowner 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 added.
Rightmove, which attracted a record 1.3 billion visits to in 2015, remains by far the busiest of the property portals.
“Our property stock advantage coupled with our brand strength and innovation have substantially increased our audience size and engagement,” said Nick McKittrick, Chief Executive Officer, Rightmove.