Britain is officially obsessed with property, according to new findings by Direct Line Home Insurance. Their latest research found that 63% of Brits window shop online for properties that they have no intention of buying.
Direct Line’s data showed that 2.6 million “property addicts” browse property websites at least once a day, eager to keep a handle on prices and design trends as well as daydreaming about future homes.
Property browsers in Sheffield were found to be the most enthusiastic, with 74% of adults in the Steel City admitting to regular window shopping for homes. The top three was made up by London (72%) and Newcastle (70%), while property addicts were also common in Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool.
Property price snooping is also an increasingly popular pastime, with 38% of Brits revealing that they have used property websites in the last year to check the value of someone else’s home. Neighbour’s homes and homes of family members, close friends and colleagues were all popular targets for property snoopers, while potential new partners and ex-lovers were also commonly cited.
“We are a nation of property obsessives with very good reason,” Katie Lomas, Head of Direct Line Home Insurance, commented. “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.”
She added: “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. A common-sense approach to the images they present is important – ask your estate agent to avoid images that show expensive personal possessions or personal information and don’t display the full address.”
Direct Line’s research also threw up some interesting results regarding specific demographics. For example, those between the ages of 18 and 34 were the most likely to use online property sites to window shop and snoop, while men that use property website are more prolific users than women. On average, males that window shop online do so the equivalent of nine times a month, while females browse these sites six times a month.