UKOM’s report on the early impact of Covid-19 on internet usage highlighted that the real estate sector was one of the major sufferers - losing nearly 5 million visitors between January and April. However, since the pandemic peak and the end of lockdown, the property market has gone from strength to strength.

The Mortgage Finance Gazette* recently reported that August experienced a ‘highly unusual’ spike in mortgage searches and applications. A stamp duty holiday combined with pent up demand and people re-evaluating their work/life priorities and living situation during lockdown has clearly contributed to this uplift.  This week UKOM looks at how usage of the property category online has changed over the last few months. 

The chart below shows how the audience to property sites and apps online has not only bounced back, it has surpassed typical levels. In August 2020, over 34 million adults or 75% of the UK online adult population visited property websites or apps online which is 9.8 million more than April – a growth of 40% and an uplift of over 21 reach points.

However, more striking is the fact that the audience in August 2020 was 28% higher than in August 2019 as an additional 7.4 million adults visited the category. Growth was experienced across all demographics but was highest among those aged over 55 where year-on-year growth was 46%.

The most popular property sales websites all experienced growth over the last 12 months. Rightmove added over 7 million visitors whilst Purplebricks grew by 61% y-o-y albeit from a smaller base. 

  Unique visitors (000s) 
  Aug-19 Aug-20 % Change
Real Estate 26,748 34,138 28
Rightmove Sites 18,635 26,817 44
Zoopla Property Group 7,738 8,534 10
7,284 7,801 7
1,829 2,616 43
ONTHEMARKET 2,723 3,722 37

Visits to websites can often be a good early indicator or future market activity so it will be interesting to watch the online audience over the coming months. The property sector has been doing well since April but the end of the stamp duty holiday next year together with increasing job losses could reverse the trend. There is also set to be a new online brand within the sector which could impact audience reach of existing players. ‘Boomin’, set up by Purplebricks founders Michael and Kenny Bruce has been busy recruiting for its imminent launch and is hoping to ‘transform the property market for everyone’. UKOM will report back with any significant trends or developments over the next few months.

Notes on Data:

All data is based on UKOM industry standard and development level approved Comscore MMX Multi-Platform data based on Aug 19 – Aug 20. Comscore MMX Multi-Platform includes desktop browsing, desktop video streams, smartphone browsing & apps, tablet browsing & apps. All analysis is undertaken on 18+ UK adults.

All data is based on the ‘Real Estate’ category from Comscore.


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