HOMEBUYERS take about 30 minutes looking around a property before making what is likely to be one of the most expensive purchase decisions of their lives, according to a survey.

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 (24%) of home owners saying they only made one viewing before they decided 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.

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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, the typical length of time 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% for people who made their purchase 20 years ago to 46% among those who bought recently, the survey found.

Home owners generally said they typically had to spend around £1,000 more than they had expected on repairs and getting their new home up to scratch, once they had moved in.