Traffic to Rightmove and Zoopla soars on Help to Buy announcement

Traffic to Rightmove and Zoopla soars on Help to Buy announcement

Activity on property portals jumped within hours of David Cameron’s surprise Help to Buy announcement.

On Sunday, the first full day after Saturday evening’s announcement that the scheme was being brought forward, traffic on Rightmove bounced up 10%.

Tellingly, traffic to Rightmove’s Help to Buy information section increased fourfold.

It chalked up 60,000 page views of its Help to Buy pages compared with the daily average of 14,000 views throughout September.

Meanwhile, on Zoopla, inquiries about properties sent by prospective buyers to agents went up 17% compared with the previous Sunday.  

Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove, said: “Such an immediate surge in people coming to Rightmove to find out more about Help to Buy is remarkable, but indicative of a lack of accurate information elsewhere.

“A lot of the talk to this point has been about the politics of the scheme and the implications of government intervention in the housing market, but this is the clearest sign yet that, trying to make sense of all the debate, are lots of home movers for whom this scheme is genuinely exciting.”

The scheme opens next Monday to all buyers (not just first-time buyers) and can be used on existing properties as well as new-builds.

It is quite different from the smaller equity loan phase of Help to Buy launched in April, which is available only on new-build properties and involves the purchaser agreeing to a repayable government loan of up to 20% to add to their own 5% deposit.

The scheme is on all properties up to £600,000 and Rightmove says that 90% of its current listings are under this threshold.

Shipside said: “The signs are clear that the scheme will stimulate demand from buyers but, in a market already short on new listings, the onus must be on stimulating supply too.

“Perhaps the Government should focus less on communicating the benefits of Help to Buy for first-time buyers and emphasise that the scheme is open to existing home owners looking to trade up too.

“For those previously trapped with limited equity, the scheme opens the door for thousands to come to market and is better summarised as Help to Sell and Help to Buy again.”

Rightmove’s Help to Buy section provides an area where buyers and sellers can access a plain-English guide as well as a calculator to help them understand what they can afford under the new scheme. Zoopla also have a Help to Buy section.