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Nosey Britons obsessed with neighbours' house values

...new, informed breed of nosey neighbour emerging: The 'knowsey' neighbour

11th Sep 2009

  • Recession triggers 'Property Schadenfreude' as homeowners compare neighbours' house values for reassurance
  • Residents of England far nosier than their Scottish or Welsh neighbours
  • Londoners most fixated on neighbours' house values; Liverpudlians are least likely to snoop online
  • Grand Avenue in Camberley, Surrey is the nosiest street in the UK

Homeowners in Britain have always been gripped by how much their own home is worth, but are now increasingly obsessed with their neighbours' house values, according to property website Zoopla.co.uk, which provides free, instant value estimates on every UK home.

In compiling the research, Zoopla.co.uk analysed hundreds of thousands of property value estimates provided using the website's unique real-time valuation tool to uncover Britain's nosiest neighbours. It found that Londoners are more likely to regularly check the value of their own and their neighbours. properties than residents anywhere else in the UK. Liverpool, on the other hand, is the city with the least nosey neighbours in the country (see tables in appendix for full breakdown of major UK cities).

The research reveals that the more interested people are in how much their own home is worth, the more likely they are to keep tabs on their neighbours' too. Overall, residents of England were found to be the nosiest, followed by Scotland and then Wales where residents are least likely to track their neighbours' house values.

Wealthiest homeowners are nosiest about house prices

Residents in the wealthiest areas are amongst the most clued up about the value of their homes along with being most curious about the value of their neighbours' properties. Reigate and Banstead in Surrey topped the rankings of areas where homeowners are most 'in the know' about both their own home's current value as well as tracking the values of their neighbours' properties. At street level, Grand Avenue in Camberley, Surrey is the curtain twitching capital of the UK, with more checks made by local owners on their neighbours' property values than in any other street in the country (see tables in appendix for table of the UK's ten nosiest streets).

However, not everyone is prepared to readily admit to virtual curtain twitching. Out of 3,732 people polled on Zoopla.co.uk, only 42% admitted to looking up the value of their neighbour's property on the website. Work colleagues' properties were the second most likely to come under scrutiny by respondents (viewed by 18% of people), followed by the house prices of family members (12%), perhaps as people keep an eye on their inheritance.

Alex Chesterman, CEO of Zoopla.co.uk, said: "As a nation, we're obsessed with the value of our homes, but, as house prices have fallen it seems it's not only our own houses that are under the spotlight. Homeowners are increasingly monitoring their neighbour's house values either looking for reassurance that their own property's value hasn't fallen by as much or taking some comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone...misery loves company."

"Whether you're looking to buy or sell a property, it pays to do your research, be knowsey and gather as much information as possible on current property values, recent sold house prices and local trends before making any property related property decision."

- Ends -

Britain's knowsiest neighbours

City Knowsiness Index*
London 146.4
Bristol 99.4
Birmingham 97.8
Leeds 97.1
Bradford 93.2
Edinburgh 89.8
Sheffield 87.5
Cardiff 78.6
Manchester 77.6
Glasgow 74.0
Liverpool 57.5

*The higher the score the greater the number of property valuations are sought relative to the number of homes. A score of 100 is UK average nosiness.

Britain's 10 knowsiest streets

Street name Postcode Location
Grand Avenue GU15 Camberley, Surrey
Albert Road KT21 Ashtead, Surrey
Ruskin Terrace G12 Glasgow
Ballsdown GU8 Godalming, Surrey
Monkville Avenue NW11 Barnet, London
Wickerwood Drive NG17 Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
Broomwood Close S20 Sheffield
Daleside Gardens IG7 Chigwell, Essex
Beech Lane GU2 Guildford, Surrey
Meadow Drive IP29 Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

For London or regional data please contact the press office.

For further information, please contact Tim Vooght at pr@zoopla.co.uk or on 020 3872 5615.

Notes to editors

About Zoopla.co.uk

Zoopla.co.uk is a unique property website offering users information and tools to help them make better-informed property decisions. Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive source of residential property market information in the UK to help buyers, sellers, owners and estate agents alike and give them an advantage in the property market.

In 2007, following the success of bringing DVD rental to the web with LOVEFiLM.com, Zoopla founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain realised that the UK property market had yet to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet in terms of its ability to deliver transparency and efficiency. They set out with the mission to transform the property market for both professionals and consumers by:

  • offering users FREE access to instant value estimates, sold house prices and local information and trends
  • enhancing estate agents' marketing efficiency by providing exposure/leads on a pay-for-performance basis
  • helping users find local agents and other property professionals to assist them in the transaction process
  • letting buyers make offers on ANY UK home and owners test interest in their homes before choosing to sell
  • creating an environment where anyone can ask/answer questions and share their knowledge about homes

By providing FREE value estimates for EVERY UK home, sold prices and local information as well as hundreds of thousands of property listings for sale/to rent, Zoopla.co.uk is fast-becoming the ultimate destination for users to both search for property and to do their market research. We continue to be the UK's fastest growing property website and largest and most active property community, with over a million user contributions to our website in the past 12 months alone. We also offer unique features, like TemptMe. and AskMe., which allow consumers to gain an insight into the market and discover information they won't find anywhere else. Our estate agent directory, FindAnAgent and our unique AskAnAgent feature also help guide users to local professionals directly for their expertise.

Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm (secret formula) that we have developed by analysing millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics throughout the UK. The algorithm works by comparing relationships between home prices, economic trends and property characteristics in given geographic areas. Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Zoopla Limited is a privately held company with a highly experienced and proven management team, backed by well-respected angel investors and leading venture capital firms Atlas Venture (atlasventure.com) and Octopus Ventures (octopusventures.com).

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