29 April 2019

Property obsessed: Australians spend twice as much time researching property than they do at the gym

New research from HSBC reveals a culture of property obsession is sweeping the globe, with people spending an average of 3.5 hours every week window shopping for homes, reading property magazines and trawling online listings – even when they aren’t in the market for a new house.

Australians clock up 2.5 hours a week focusing on the property market, more than twice the time they spend at the gym.


  • Australians clock up 2.5 hours a week focusing on the property market, more than twice the time they spend at the gym.
  • Extreme house hunters spend more than seven hours viewing property every week.
  • 49% of extreme property addicts admit to checking the value of their own home monthly.

New research from HSBC reveals a culture of property obsession is sweeping the globe, with people spending an average of 3.5 hours every week window shopping for homes, reading property magazines and trawling online listings – even when they aren’t in the market for a new house.

Australians spend an average of 2.5 hours a week focused on property, more than twice the time they spend at the gym (1.08 hours) or speaking to their parents (0.88 hours), demonstrating that the cooling housing market is doing little to dent the property fixation of some people.

The UAE and USA are the most property obsessed countries in the world, spending an average of 6.6 and 4.95 hours respectively on property each week.

And parents around the world are spending longer viewing property than they do reading their children bedtime stories – 5.4 hours versus 1.59 hours.

Location Time spent viewing property per week (hours)
UAE 6.60
USA 4.95
Taiwan 4.54
Mexico 3.56
Singapore 3.29
UK 2.65
Australia 2.51
Canada 2.08
France 1.74

EXTREME HOUSE HUNTERS

Globally, a group of extreme house hunters are taking their property obsession one step further. HSBC’s research found that just over 6% of people can be defined as an ‘extreme house hunter’, in that they spend more than seven hours a week reading about or researching property.

Almost half (49%) of these extreme house hunters check the value of their own home monthly. Nearly one quarter of Australians (23%) check the value of their property every three months.

Despite their fixation, extreme house hunters feel the time they invest researching properties pays off, with three quarters (74%) globally saying they feel ‘relaxed’ about buying a property and almost four in five (79%) feeling ‘in control’.

The research found that extreme house hunters are more likely to delay important life stages as they save for the perfect home. Globally, 19% of extreme house hunters have put off having a child to get on the property ladder, twice the global average. They are also twice as likely to delay marriage to save up for their next property purchase.

QUIRKS AND IRRATIONALITIES

While prospective homeowners obsess over finding the perfect property, the decision to buy is often impulsive, with 38% globally deciding on a property based purely on their first impressions.

Superstitions and traditions also have a part to play – with half of people in Taiwan saying bad Feng Shui would be a deal breaker.

Locally, while some Australians say that rumours of a house being haunted would put them off purchasing a property (21%), it appears that difficult neighbours are the biggest deal breaker in the quest to finding the perfect home (46%).

Alice Del Vecchio, Head of Mortgages for HSBC Australia said softening property prices and low interest rates were encouraging factors for many Australians looking to enter the property market.

“Buying a property is often the most significant purchase Aussies make, but it seems that some home buyers are taking their passion for the perfect home to the extreme. An industry of property magazines, TV programmes and websites is making it harder than ever to have realistic expectations about what you can afford – with many Aussies putting off important life stages, like having children, in the quest to afford the perfect property.

“It’s essential to begin this buying process by having an open discussion with your partner, family or financial advisor to discuss what you can afford and what compromises you might have to make. Buying a property should be a positive experience, and with some careful planning, it can be an exciting one too,” said Ms Del Vecchio.

Market Property deal breakers
Australia Difficult neighbours (46%)
Singapore Door number or street name is unlucky (16%)
UK Difficult neighbours (43%)
Canada Rumours of it being haunted (21%)
France Difficult neighbours (43%)
UAE Rumours of it being haunted (28%)
USA Someone died there (29%)
Taiwan Bad Feng Shui (50%)
Mexico Someone died there (31%)

Media enquiries

David Matthews
+61 2 9006 5682
+61 424 859 836 
david1.matthews@hsbc.com.au

James Courtney
+61 2 9006 5043
+61 466 499 856
james.d.courtney@hsbc.com.au