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Business News: Decisions, decisions

Some home hunters spend less time deciding to buy a property than watching Coronation Street...

An astonishing 11% of home buyers admit they made up their mind to buy their current property before they had even seen it in real life, despite a home being the biggest purchase they’ll ever make, according to a major new report from Barratt Homes.

Homebuyers spend an average of just 25.5 minutes viewing a house or flat before making up their minds. And with the average south east home currently costing around £306,000, this works out as a decision cost equating to a staggering £12,000 per minute.

The findings come from the Barratt Homes ‘21st Century Living: Heads, Hearts and Homes Report’, which reveals that the main reasons people from the south east don’t spend longer viewing a property include pressure from estate agents (named by 23%), uncertainty as to how to arrange a further viewing (25%), and lack of time (4%). This approach has an emotional effect on homebuyers, leaving people feeling pressured (12%), stressed (5%) and worried (10%).

The average time spent viewing a home is less than it takes to watch an episode of the TV soap Coronation Street, and only ten minutes more than people in the south east spend on average when deciding which pair of jeans to buy:

Product purchased                       Home                           Car                           Jeans
Average cost                                 £306,000                       £10,252                    £34.84
Average viewing time                     25.5 mins                      30.6 mins                 15.4 mins
Cost per minute of the decision       £12,000                        £335                         £2.26

The report has been compiled by Barratt Homes with the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), to gain further insight into the emotional and rational factors affecting property buying in the UK. 

Kate Fox, Author of Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, said, “Given the deep emotional importance of the house in society, there is something very interesting about the disproportionately short amount of time – if any at all – that prospective buyers spend in a house before making the decision to buy. When we enter a person's home with the intention of buying it, it can seem strange and uncomfortable, like an imposition or invasion of privacy.”

Lynnette St Quintin, Sales and Marketing Director of Barratt Homes Southern Counties, added; “Purchasing a property, whether for the first time or the tenth time, is a major life investment. It’s really important for the buyer to be 100% happy and confident in their decision. But rushing this decision can and should be avoided. Considering a new build home is one way to do this; new home builds offer customers the opportunity to view a new property they’re interested in as many times as they like without feeling pressured or rushed.

“The average Barratt Home buyer views a new home for approximately 120 minutes before making their purchase decision – this is almost five times longer than the national average of 25 minutes and 30 seconds, meaning they can be far more confident their decision is the correct one.

“There are many benefits to considering a new build home, not least a five year warranty on fittings and fixtures – eliminating the risk of unexpected and expensive maintenance issues which can come with some second hand homes. A new build home is also more energy efficient and provides a blank canvas you can easily make your own, with optional design extras. In addition, a 5% deposit on the Help To Buy scheme can make new homes extremely affordable, particularly for first time buyers.” For more information, tips and hints on the ‘helping you navigate the house buying’ process, visit: