Housing search online

93% of UK homebuyers research properties online

The majority (93%) of UK homebuyers use online channels for their property searches, according to a study of more than 9,000 people across nine countries.

The ‘Beyond the Bricks: The Future of Home Buying’ report by HSBC has found that the number of UK homebuyers utilising online research exceeds the global average of 83%.

More than half (51%) of recent homebuyers first contacted an estate agent online as opposed to in person.

James Dearsley, a property technology expert, said: “Property websites will become considerably more sophisticated, using big data to bring more and better properties in front of prospective buyers and taking over much of the traditional estate agent’s role.

“There will be no more ’15-minute windows’ to view a property.

“Virtual reality will allow homebuyers to view more homes, narrow down their choice and then ‘live’ in a virtual version for several days to truly try before they buy.”

Over a third (34%) of recent homebuyers said dealing with property professionals was the most stressful part of the homebuying process, followed by understanding the legal paperwork (21%), fees (19%) and negotiating the price (16%).

Homebuyers said mortgage providers (41%) and family (46%) remained the most trusted sources of mortgage advice among millennials.

Only 14% of millennials embraced the idea of using robo-advisers – such as chatbots and humanoids – for mortgage advice.

Tracie Pearce, head of mortgages at HSBC UK, said: “The process of buying a home will change beyond recognition in the coming years.

“The market may not quite be ready for ‘robo-advice’, but this type of service will, in time, be helpful for the financially astute borrowers who need guidance through just a few steps of the mortgage process.

“There will still be those borrowers that desire face-to-face advice, or prefer to speak with an adviser over the telephone and lenders should look to provide homebuyers with a choice of channels in line with their needs and preferences.”

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