Crime fears cause £6.6bn in property sales fall through every year

  • More than 29,000 house sales fall through every year due to fears over local crime – the equivalent of £6.6bn in property value
  • Total number of reported crimes in the UK rose by 12 per cent between 2014 and 2018
  • Biggest concerns for homebuyers are local burglary rates and drug related crimes

 Over two thirds (69 per cent) of potential homeowners are fearful over crime rates in the area they are looking to buy in, according to new research1 conducted by Churchill Home Insurance. Insights drawn from research amongst estate agents2 reveals approximately 800,000 prospective homebuyers every year across the UK are concerned about local crime rates.

Estate agents estimate that 2.4 per cent of house sales fall through as a direct result of buyers’ fears over crime, amounting to an estimated 29,082 scuppered property transactions every year, or 80 homes per day, with a total market value of £6.6 billion3.


The biggest concerns voiced by homebuyers to estate agents are local burglary rates, followed by drug-related crimes, assault, property vandalism, vehicle vandalism and car theft. The study also found that one in nine buyers (11 per cent) were described as ‘extremely concerned’ about local burglary rates when looking at properties.


Table one: Greatest crime-related concerns for prospective buyers, according to estate agents

Concern Total proportion of those who are concerned Proportion who are extremely concerned
Local burglary rates 77% 11%
Local drug-related crime rates 76% 7%
Local assault rates 74% 10%
Local property vandalism rates 71% 6%
Local vehicle vandalism rates 70% 5%
Local car theft rates 66% 6%

Source: Churchill Home Insurance 2019


One in seven estate agents (15 per cent) believe that local crime rates are becoming an increasing issue for prospective buyers. This is a figure supported by further analysis4 conducted by Churchill into the relationship between property prices and crime rates.


Across the UK, the total number of crimes rose by 12 per cent between 2014 and 2018, with nearly 5.8 million crimes reported to police forces last year alone. This amounts to around 15,800 every day, or 11 every minute.


Craig Rixon, head of Churchill Home Insurance said: “With crime rates rising across the UK, it is no surprise to see that this is having a detrimental knock-on effect on homebuyer confidence. Buying a home is a major financial commitment and it is important to assess several factors when considering where to live, with local crime rates being one of them.


“However, this should not necessarily deter purchases of dream properties. No matter where the property is, or what the crime rates are in the area, homes should always be fitted with an appropriate level of security features, including locks, an alarm and security lights, as often burglars will look for the easiest home to enter on a street. For further peace of mind, it’s always necessary to have a comprehensive, up-to-date home insurance policy that covers householders in the event of them becoming victim of a burglary.”


Churchill’s top tips for protecting your property are:

  • If you have a security alarm, use it. Burglars will be able to tell if the alarm is not used and serviced regularly so it will not act as a deterrent unless it is used
  • The best burglary deterrent is for the home to be occupied, so if you are away ask neighbours to pop around, leave a light on or invest in timed lights. Don’t make it obvious that no one is home
  • Think like a burglar and see where the best points of entry to your home are. Make sure all windows and doors are locked and if you have a burglar alarm, keep it clean so it looks like it is used and serviced regularly
  • Ensure any security features which allow you to track your phone or tablet are turned on as this will help police locate your device should it be stolen. If you are burgled, also call your contract provider immediately and have the line and phone blocked
  • Try not to leave packaging for new expensive goods outside your home. It is better to take it to a public recycling bin, as it can attract burglars.
  • If you keep power tools, golf clubs or garden equipment in an outbuilding or shed, make sure the shed is locked and/or has security features such as an alarm or security light