Online property searches spike as Rightmove records busiest day ever

Last Wednesday, May 27, was a record-breaker for Rightmove. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Last Wednesday, May 27, was a record-breaker for Rightmove. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Movers have been taking to one property portal in record numbers since the housing market reopened in England, with Rightmove recording its busiest day ever last week.

The site surpassed six million visits for the first time last Wednesday (May 27) - up 18 per cent on the same day a year ago.

This interest translated into a surge of calls and emails to estate agents, with a record number of people getting in touch via Rightmove – also up 18 per cent on the same day in 2019.

Having quizzed more than 4,600 house hunters, the portal revealed that more than a quarter (28 per cent) had only recently decided to move, having had no plans to do so pre-lockdown.

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said this boost in interest was due to a combination of pent up demand being released, new people entering the market and no half term holidays during lockdown.

Steve Walker of Collinson Hall in St Albans said that his firm had agreed eight sales since agents were given the go ahead to resume operations.

“There is undoubtedly a demand,” he said. “The prices being agreed have been strong with asking price being achieved at times.

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“We also have a number of new instructions coming through. There is a slight lag, but only a matter of a few days, so I am expecting the supply of property to shortly increase.”

Rightmove said the number of sales being agreed was 47 per cent down on last year, though this is an improvement on the 90 per cent down recorded when the market paused in March.

Miles Shipside said: “The challenge agents are facing is handling this surge in enquiries, having a process to deliver virtual viewings, and setting up socially distanced and safe physical viewings.

“This means that although numbers of sales agreed have improved from being down 90 per cent to currently being 47 per cent down compared to this time last year, it’s going to take a considerable time for a return to sales agreed levels seen last year and at the start of this year.”