The UK's Property Obsession

The UK's Property Obsession

A new survey has found that across the UK we are a nation obsessed with other people's properties, and we'll browse estate agents' websites even if we're not intending to buy or sell.

The research, which was carried out by Direct Line Home Insurance, highlighted that 63% of us will look at properties online regularly, regardless of whether we can afford them or are considering making a move. This shows that we have an obsession with the properties of other people, with some of us choosing to look to keep track of the market or simply to pick up decorating tips.

Around 2.6 million people even take to these websites once a day, and 38% of those surveyed admitted to checking up on the price of a property belonging to someone else at least once over the course of the past year.

There are a number of reasons why they're on these sites, with some browsing design trends, such as how to incorporate a glass metal staircase into their property, and others keeping an eye on prices in the local area or simply admiring their dream or lottery-win homes.

Regional Variations

There were differences across the country in how nosy people were about other properties, with those in Sheffield the most prolific: 74% of respondents here said they window-shopped property sites. Homeowners in London (72%) and Newcastle (70%) came second and third in the poll.

Younger homeowners are most likely to keep an eye on local properties, with those in the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket the most common users of the property websites. 8% of those in this group admitted that they had used one of these sites in the past year to check how much a new partner's home was worth, and 6% had done the same with an ex-partner's property.

Keeping Up With the Neighbours

Often people are viewing the properties of these they know, maybe to see what their glass metal staircase really looks like or just to have a snoop at how their home is decorated. Out of those surveyed, 52% were viewing a neighbour's property, 38% one owned by family, 31% a friend's house and 21% a property belonging to a colleague.


Property websites have become a way for us to get inspiration for our own homes as well as a mechanism for buying and selling. 29% of those who took part in the research viewed other properties to get ideas for interior design. The large number of photos can allow you to quickly see what does and doesn't work and how you could make use of certain styles in your property.

The rise of the internet, and the number of online property portals in particular, has simply increased the nosiness of the UK population and has generated an obsession with other people's homes and improving where we live. We all dream of climbing up the property ladder, and these sites allow us to live out our aspirations, even if only for a few minutes.