Step aside Netflix, homebuyers are spending an increasing number of hours property browsing online right now.
This nationwide increase in property browsing suggests homebuyers are preparing to move after lockdown. The bounce back reflects a positive change in the market during these challenging times.
Browsing levels have risen steadily since March dip
As highlighted in our recent Cities Index Report, the levels of browsing properties for sale fell in March as a direct result of coronavirus.
However, during April, levels started to rise again, as potential buyers explored options for their next home move.
A breakdown of the data shows that all UK regions have followed broadly the same trend when it comes to property browsing.
During May, browsing activity fell by a half as everyone adjusted to the new normal in lockdown.
But since then, browsing levels have been rising steadily. And online engagement is now only around 30% below the high levels we saw on 1 March.
London sees fastest pick up in browsing
Some regions have seen slightly more activity than others, with browsing for properties in London leading the way.
Browsing levels dropped by more than 40% in the capital in the first three weeks of March. But by the end of the month, things started to pick up again. In fact by 26 April, browsing levels had increased by 20%.
Buyers have also been busy in North West England, with a 44% rise in browsing since the dip at the end of March. Browsing levels in this region are now just 23% lower than at the beginning of March.
Buyers in Northern Ireland have also become more active.
In the Midlands, browsing levels picked up over the last month but less than they have in other regions.
This could be for a number of reasons, including economic stability.
Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla, said the browsing activity was not just wishful clicking on the most aspirational properties.
“Looking at fabulous properties can be a good distraction, especially during lockdown, but our data suggests that browsing activity is also translating into increased demand, and this is being seen across all price brackets for properties in the UK.”
Listings remain mostly unchanged
While lockdown has delayed potential home sales in the UK, that pent-up demand could well come back once restrictions lessen.
For buyers doing their homework, there are plenty of properties to choose from online - the total number of properties listed for sale has dipped by only 4% since early March.
More homes are set to come to the market as agents start to open their offices in the coming weeks.
If you’re looking to move, you can start your property search today.
Top three takeaways
- The levels of browsing properties for sale fell in March as a direct result of coronavirus. However, during April, levels started to rise again, as potential buyers explored options for their next home move
- Some regions have seen slightly more activity than others, with browsing for properties in London leading the way
- While lockdown has delayed potential home sales in the UK, that pent-up demand could well come back once restrictions lessen