Property websites experience first increase in UK traffic for over two years
Hitwise Intelligence - Robin Goad - UK
November 11, 2009
UK Internet visits to property websites increased by 4.8% between October 2008 and October 2009, the first annual increase in UK Internet traffic to the sector for over two years. The online property market was one of the first areas to suffer as a result of the credit crunch back in autumn 2007
and, as the chart below illustrates, by January 2008 visits to the category were contracting at an annual rate of 36.6%.
Traffic to online property websites has been recovering gradually throughout 2009, but this is the first month that we have experienced an actual annual increase. The internet is the first place many people turn when looking to move house, but over the last couple of years a lack of inventory on many sites has put people off. If, as predicted, the recent house price increases reported by Nationwide and Halifax result in more properties coming onto the market, it is likely that online traffic will increase further. While an increase in supply may lead to a short term reduction in prices, any increase in listings should help property websites attract more visitors.
The increase in UK Internet traffic to property websites is being driven by a growth in visitors from the south of England. During October 2009, people from London were 15% more likely to visit a property website than the UK average, while for both the South East and South West the figure was 9%. The parts of the UK with the lowest representation compared with their populations were Northern Ireland - which was one of the most popular parts of the country for property websites before the credit crunch - and Wales.
All of the top ten over-represented postal areas visits to property websites during October were in London or the South East, with London East Central (EC) and Bromley (BR) topping the list. At the other end of the spectrum, the list of the bottom ten was dominated by postal areas in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the North of England. Lerwick in Scotland (ZE) was the least represented postal area amongst UK visitors to property websites, while Durham (DH) was the lowest ranked English city.
The UK online property market is dominated by portal pages, which accounted for the majority of the top ten sites within the category during October. The largest of these is Rightmove
, which picked up 23.6% of visits to the category – nearly five times as many as its nearest competitors, Find a Property
. The highest ranked individual estate agency websites during October 2009 were Your Move
(ranked 23rd), Knight Frank
(29th) and Savills UK
(It should be noted that Property Finder was recently acquired by Zoopla