Home owners are choosing to improve their homes rather than move as figures show online visits to DIY and furniture stores overtaking those to estate agents.

The credit crisis has hit visits to online estate agents hard, said Hitwise, which monitors web usage.

It found visits to online estate agents had dropped from 0.85 per cent of all UK internet visits a year ago, to 0.55% last month.

Falling demand for houses is mirrored by website search behaviour, with searches for 'houses for sale' down 53.1% between August 2007 and August 2008. At the same time, visits to house and garden retailers increased from 0.40% a year ago to 0.59% last month.

Daily Telegraph