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‘Millions of Britons addicted to property websites’

One in five Brits confessed to surfing the web for hot properties for an average of four hours each week, although some admit to spending far longer.

Around 800,000 say they spend between seven and nine hours each week (equivalent to 30-40 hours a month) looking at property sites and just under half a million (452,000), dedicate 10-14 hours a week (43-60 hours each month) to their guilty pleasure.

Around 6.2million of the 10 million regular property website viewers admitted to looking at properties that are significantly out of their price range.

The justifications for doing so ranged, but the most popular included "searching for their dream property", as cited by 37%, "envy and curiosity (18%), and to find design and decorative ideas (18%).

In addition, 14% say they ogle expensive properties because it inspires them to work harder and save money and 7% do it just to pass the time.

Nigel Lewis, property analyst at PrimeLocation.com, said: "For many people, property is aspirational and searching for their dream home is both a pleasure and inspiration.

"People spend a great deal of time in their home and many see it as an opportunity to express their personality or wealth, so it’s easy to understand why people invest considerable amounts of time and effort in finding the right one.

"While 10 million people browsing property websites sounds like a lot, this doesn’t just include people who are planning to move. A significant proportion of those who browse property sites do so because they enjoy it and because they find the insight into other homes both interesting and intriguing."

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