The real estate market will “stop”

Online property searches have plunged to their lowest level since the housing market shut down amid fresh signs that house price growth will ‘stop’, experts have warned.

The number of people searching online for real estate websites or a new home has been a key indicator of future home purchases and property values. The number fell in April to the lowest level since May 2020, during the first Covid lockdown, according to analysis by Capital Economics, a consultancy. The firm’s Andrew Wishart said the suggested house prices would “stop” later this year.

Google searches for property websites Rightmove and Zoopla have fallen steadily since the Bank of England raised the Bank Rate in December 2021. In April, indexed searches fell to 101 – 11.3 percentage points in below the level recorded in November and the lowest rate since the depths of the first containment.

This follows a drop in interest in March, when there were 16.3 million searches combined for Rightmove and Zoopla – 18% less than a year earlier, according to Google Trends data.

Rising interest rates destroyed the purchasing power of buyers just as real incomes were eaten away by soaring inflation. This affected their ability to save and made many people nervous about pushing themselves financially.

Penny D. Jackson