Online property market activity stats show impact of COVID-19 on European markets

The latest research by Spotahome, the international rental marketplace, has revealed online visits and engagement by homebuyers and tenants across 28 European nations has fallen by an average of just -0.4% monthly since November last year. However, in the UK the decline has been greater at -4.1%, as many have been unable to follow through with their search due to the property industry lockdown.

The UK saw the eighth largest decline in online property market activity of 28 European countries based on the leading online portals for each nation, with just Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Italy, Belgium and Greece seeing a greater drop. 

In contrast, Austria (7.8%), Finland (7.8%) and Sweden (7.4%) saw the highest average monthly increase in online property market activity.

Although many high street agents have tried to pivot with lockdown market restrictions, other fully digital platforms have remained largely unaffected, with Spotahome seeing website traffic increase consistently for seven straight weeks. 

This is largely due to Spotahome’s operational foundation. Since its inception in 2014, Spotahome has focused on facilitating contactless rental moves without the need for in-person visits, instead allowing tenants to view the property via digital walkthroughs. Their long-established expertise in doing so has enabled them to allow tenants to carry on with their search and secure a place to live, either in their own country or abroad, despite social distancing measures.

With its ‘reopening’ last week, the UK property market is widely expected to bounce back. Data from Yomdel shows that so far this month, new enquiry volumes from landlords, homebuyers and tenants were already well above the 62-week pre-coronavirus lockdown levels. This high demand reflects the high proportion of the UK population that rents: the UK is home to the sixth highest proportion of renters of all 28 European nations; with 35% of us reliant on the sector to put a roof over our heads. 

There should also be plenty of stock to satisfy this demand, as the latest figures show there are currently over 100,000 rental properties listed across the UK’s 23 major cities despite wider market conditions. 

With an abundance of stock and high demand from UK and international tenants, Spotahome believes the UK rental market will see a swift return to form now that industry restrictions have eased. But will it be the market we recognise from prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus?  

Jack Kuecker, Spotahome’s Director for UK and Ireland, commented: “It’s interesting to see how the severity of the current pandemic has impacted property market sentiment across Europe. This is, of course, influenced by the varying levels of lockdown restrictions, with some nations maintaining a business as usual stance while others have ceased market activity completely.  

The good news is the most recent market indicators suggest the UK market is set for a swift comeback. We’ve already seen a sustained level of activity across our platform for the duration of the UK lockdown; both domestic and international tenants are keen to find rental properties. 

In the current climate, tenants are embracing the additional sense of safety that comes with contactless viewings as it allows them to progress with their search without visiting the property. This is already something that the latest generation of renters are becoming accustomed to and for future generations, a shift towards 100% digital renting could quite easily become the new norm.

Our foundation as a business has always facilitated a completely digital approach to renting. However, it’s highly likely that the events of the last few months will now act as a catalyst within the property sector, accelerating the digitalisation seen over previous years and evolving industry practices to operate on an almost completely digital basis.”

Rankings - average monthly change in total visits and engagement between November 2019 to April 2020
Nation Property portal Average monthly change (Nov19 to Apr20)
Austria https://www.immobilienscout24.at/ 7.8%
Finland https://www.etuovi.com/ 7.8%
Sweden https://www.hemnet.se/ 7.4%
Estonia https://www.kv.ee/ 5.9%
Czechia https://www.sreality.cz/ 5.9%
Denmark https://www.boligsiden.dk/ 4.3%
Netherlands https://www.funda.nl/ 4.0%
Portugal https://www.idealista.pt/ 2.8%
Hungary https://ingatlan.com/ 1.6%
Germany https://www.immobilienscout24.de/ 1.2%
Romania https://www.imobiliare.ro/ -0.2%
Lithuania https://www.aruodas.lt/ -0.2%
Slovakia https://www.nehnutelnosti.sk/ -0.5
Poland https://www.otodom.pl/ -0.7%
Latvia  https://www.city24.lv/ -1.3%
Ireland https://www.daft.ie/ -1.5%
Spain https://www.idealista.com/ -1.8%
Cyprus https://www.bazaraki.com -2.0%
Bulgaria https://www.imot.bg/ -2.0%
France https://www.seloger.com/ -3.3%
United Kingdom https://www.rightmove.co.uk/ -4.1%
Malta https://www.remax-malta.com/ -5.0%
Croatia https://www.njuskalo.hr -5.2%
Slovenia https://www.nepremicnine.net/ -5.6%
Luxembourg https://www.immotop.lu/ -6.2%
Italy https://www.immobiliare.it/ -6.3%
Belgium https://www.immoweb.be -6.7%
Greece https://www.xe.gr/property/ -7.2%
Portal visits and engagement over time sourced from Similarweb

 

Nation Percentage of people that rent (%)

Germany

48.5

Austria

44.6

Denmark

39.5

Sweden

35.9

France

34.9

United Kingdom

34.9

Netherlands

31.0

Cyprus

29.9

Ireland

29.7

Luxembourg

28.8

Finland

28.4

Italy

27.6

Belgium

27.3

Greece

26.5

Portugal

25.5

Slovenia

24.9

Spain

23.7

Czechia

21.3

Latvia

18.4

Malta

18.4

Estonia

17.6

Bulgaria

16.4

Poland

16.0

Hungary

14.0

Lithuania

10.1

Croatia

9.9

Slovakia

8.7

Romania

3.6

Source: Trading Economics

 

 

 

City

Total listings (May 2020)

London

53,459

Oxford

1,460

Cambridge

810

Manchester

5,160

Liverpool

3,164

Birmingham

5,184

Nottingham

1,846

Leeds

4,981

Sheffield

2,797

Leicester

1,906

Newcastle

3,805

Southampton

2,619

Portsmouth

943

Bournemouth

1,073

Plymouth

951

Bristol

1,481

Cardiff

2,508

Swansea

1,188

Newport

193

Glasgow

1,690

Edinburgh

2,521

Aberdeen

1,256

Belfast

24

All cities

101013

Rental stock figures sourced from Rightmove and Zoopla

 

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