Are you guilty of house price snooping? Zoopla research says that you probably are

House price snooping is widespread as the majority of us can't resist the urge to find out just how much they paid for it

Have you ever house price snooped on your friends, relatives, or even neighbours? Recent research suggests that you probably have. In fact, more than half of us (59 per cent) can't resist looking up how much friends, family, colleagues and even potential lovers paid for their home.

This is not to say that this curiosity isn't somewhat natural. Although reading property advice will give you an idea of researching and negotiating house prices, real experiences people you know have had of buying a house can be helpful, especially if you're looking to move into the same area as them.

House price snooping – a very British pastime

sloping roof house with bricks and white windows

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Of course, the other appeal of house price snooping is its sheer secrecy. Looking up how much someone paid for a house helps to avoid broaching the subject in person, which some people consider awkward or even impolite. In fact, the research by Zoopla shows that 65 per cent of us would never admit to the owner that we’d researched their home’s value.

'Why not just ask?', you may wonder. Oddly, although we are a nation that places a lot of importance on property ownership, only 19 per cent believe it is ok to simply ask someone what they paid for their home. Given how easy it now is to look up a house price, finding out without asking seems to be the norm.

We snoop on neighbours' house prices the most

house with exposed brick walls and potted bushes

(Image credit: Keith Henderson)

It's fact – we're most curious about the values of neighbours' homes, with 36 per cent admitting to looking these up. Friends and family members are also often researched, bt 24 and 29 per cent respectively. More than one in ten (11 per cent) have even looked up their colleagues' house prices, with 28 per cent admitting they then made presumptions about a colleague’s salary after seeing how much their home was worth.

Perhaps more disturbingly, a small number of people (eight per cent) even said that they vetted potential partners by researching their homes online. Nearly a third admitted they chose to continue dating someone after seeing pictures of their nice house. The old romantics.

The darker side of house price snooping

sloping roof house with exposed brick walls and yellow door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to house price snooping, with 11 per cent admitting that that they felt jealous after looking up the value of  someone’s property. Conversely, some people reported the opposite effect, feeling more respect for someone after finding out about their house success.  For nearly a quarter (23 per cent), looking up someone else's house price has nothing to do with personal feelings – they simply want to know whether their own house has been valued correctly.

Tom Parker, Consumer Spokesperson at Zoopla, commented: 'Buttoned up Brits love talking about house prices – but for most, asking someone straight-up what they paid for their home is still considered a taboo. But how much a house sold for is publicly available information and is easy to source online. Whether it's your boss, a friend or even a potential partner, it’s clear we want to know more about the homes they live in and will often treat them differently as a result.'

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.