Snap decision decides fate of most important purchase

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FOR MOST people, it is the most expensive purchase they will ever make.

Yet last year, househunters typically spent just 33 minutes looking around the property before making what is likely to be one of the biggest decisions of their lives, according to a survey.

The York-based insurance firm, Aviva, which carried out the research, suggested that the recent strong competition seen in the housing market is forcing some buyers to make “snap decisions”, with one in four or 24 per cent of home owners saying they only made one viewing before deciding to buy.

Aviva, which commissioned research among 4,000 home owners, found that those who bought the most recently tended to spend less time viewing a property than those who bought some years ago.

The average amount of time that people who had bought their property six to 10 years ago estimated they spent looking round their property was 35 minutes and for those who bought 10 to 20 years ago, it was 39 minutes.

Perceived competition for properties has increased, according to the findings.

The proportion of people who said there was “not much” or “no competition” when they bought their home has fallen from 65 per cent for people who made their purchase 20 years ago to 46 per cent among those who bought recently.

Evidence of the increase in pressure on buyers has been evident in the housing market in Yorkshire. The Land Registry’s House Price Index shows a 3.4 per cent rise in house prices in the county over the past year. However, the bubble could be about to burst. In June, Yorkshire suffered a 1.3 per cent drop in the average house price.

The latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker, suggests this points to a rise in homeowners who are fearful of a fall in market prices. According to the poll, 60 per cent of those asked said they thought now was a good time to sell.

The Aviva survey also examined how much new owners spend getting their new home up to scratch, with buyers shelling out an average of £1,000 more than expected.