Q1 2010 Experian Insight Index: Internet searches for ‘houses for sale’ up by 30% in the UK

  • Similar trend in US  - property searches up by 32%
  • Rise in searches for rural homes and properties abroad

London, 29 April, 2010 — Britons appear to be showing more online interest in the property ladder, with Internet searches for properties for sale up by 30% during January to March 2010 – compared to the same time last year.  

The findings have emerged from Experian’s first quarterly Insight Index, identifying key Internet search trends to show how consumers are adapting to today’s economic backdrop. 

In addition to a spike in people searching online for ‘properties for sale’, the analysis from Experian Hitwise shows that some of the fastest growing property search terms in the UK over the last year also include:

  • ‘rural property for sale’                    +317%
  • ‘renovation property for sale’          +828%
  • ‘French property for sale’                +2507%

However, with fewer people searching online for mortgages it suggests that UK consumers are ‘window shopping’.

Charlotte Hogg, Managing Director of Experian, UK and Ireland, commented:  “The last few months have seen some stabilisation in the UK economy and our data suggests that British consumers are starting to think about the property ladder again by using the popularity and convenience of the Internet to search for houses for sale.   Despite Internet searches for mortgages being down compared to last year, the level of online interest in property could be a tentative sign that people are beginning to feel a little more optimistic about the economy.”

Experian’s Insight Index also highlights that UK Internet searches for houses for sale are similar to those in the US, which also increased by 32% during the first three months of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009 [see table 1 below].      However, the UK is lagging the US when it comes to people searching for mortgage deals, with online search activity dropping by nearly a quarter compared to January to March 2009.   

Table 1:  Internet search indicators: year-on-year (UK & US)

Search Indicator

UK

Q1 09 – Q1 10

 

US

Q1 09 – Q1 10

 

Properties for sale (e.g. ‘houses for sale’, ‘homes for sale’)

+30%

+32%

Properties for rent

+10%

+171%

Mortgages

-22%

+43%

Credit cards

+8%

+70%

Loans

-19%

+11%

A key trend to emerge over the year also saw UK consumers taking advantage of the balance transfer and 0% interest deals available on credit cards:

  • Searches for ‘credit cards with 0% interest’ (6000% increase),
  • ‘0% balance transfer credit cards’ (604% increase),
  • ‘0% credit cards’ (216% increase)

Meanwhile, searches for savings decreased by 5.5% over the year, but increased by 30.3% during January to March 2010 as people looked to capitalise on ISAs before the end of the financial year.                             

Methodology

Data is based on Experian Q1 2010 U.S. and UK search indicators according to research by Experian® Hitwise®, Experian Marketing Services’ leading global online competitive intelligence service. Several search terms portfolios were created around different financial indicators to gauge consumer search behavior.

About the Experian Hitwise Search Indicators Report

The Experian Hitwise Global Search Indicators Report is a quarterly benchmarking report providing insight into consumer behavior and sentiment. Leveraging Experian Hitwise data, these indices shed light on consumer internet search trends across categories including debt, credit cards, loans, fraud, telecommunications, and government services.

Contact:

James Russell  

0115 992 2652/07866 495418

james.russell@uk.experian.com

 

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