-18% reduction in homebuyers starting their search, but traffic still one of the highest globally

The latest research by estate agent comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, shows that monthly visits to the UK’s top online property portal have fallen by -18% in the past year, as high mortgage rates impact the national market from the very earliest stages of the buying process.

GetAgent.co.uk has analysed the annual change in monthly visitors to the top online property portal in 21 different countries to see how the international housing market has reacted to widespread economic uncertainty and the rising cost of mortgages. Change has been calculated by measuring visits during the month of September 2022 against those in October 2023.

The data reveals that, here in the UK, the mortgage crisis has impacted the housing market from the earliest stages of the buying journey, with the average number of monthly visits to our top portal (Rightmove) down -18% on the year.

But in the UK, we remain one of the world’s most aspirational ownership nations with 96 million Rightmove visits in a single month ranking second only to the USA (319.7 million visits to Zillow) where, of course, the population is significantly larger.

The annual reduction that we’ve seen in the UK is mirrored across 16 of the 20 other nations studied by GetAgent.co.uk.

The only nations where visits have fallen by more than the UK are Belgium (-37%), China (-27%), Portugal (-27%), and Turkey (-24%).

But annual drops have also been recorded in the likes of Sweden (-16%), UAE (-11%), Ireland (-8%), Canada (-7%), and the USA (-5%).

There are only four countries that have seen monthly portal visits increase on the year. These are Brazil (15%), Italy (6%), Czech Republic (6%), and Poland (5%).

The UK portal split
Here in the UK, we have three major property portals: Rightmove, Zoopla, and On The Market (OTM).

Between them, they garnered 429.4 million visits over the past three months (August to October 2023).

Rightmove is by far the most visited portal, gobbling up 67.1% of these visits, followed by Zoopla (21.7%), and OTM (11.2%).

Co-founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, Colby Short, commented:

“It’s no surprise that portal visits have declined in the past year. The market has slowed – not crashed – as a result of economic turmoil pushing mortgage rates higher than we have seen in the UK for many years.

But UK homebuyers remain an aspirational bunch, so they’re still hitting the portals at a greater rate than nearly every other country we studied during the course of this research.

There was, until recently, some hope that the UK government would introduce a break or reduction in stamp duty, thus supercharging the housing market as we saw when the holiday was introduced during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, in the end, Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement came and went with no mention of any such tax break, which means the downward trend of portal visits could potentially continue, at least into the early months of 2024.”

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