Why is there such an imbalance of Houses in Europe? UK over 2K and rest of Europe under 100 (95% to 5%)

What could explain this 95% to 5% massive imbalance?

I have not found another platform that competes at all with TH and even used search terms for the native language of other countries in Europe. Nothing is close to TH’s quality and user base.

I thought it might be its marketing toward the UK or possibly a lack of additional language functionality beyond English but then I’m a homeowner myself and most of the house sitter applicants are equally distributed from around different countries of Europe.

I’m not aware of some massive lack of pets in other countries compared to the UK but it’s possible, I haven’t seen the numbers.

It’s definitely not about discomfort of strangers in a home, economic issues, lack of interest of travel. Websites like AirBnb and Home Exchange have a huge amount of users across all countries in Europe of all types of homes (tiny apartments to mansions).

Germany/France have equal or higher population than UK and yet both have 50 combined house sit options as of this moment. Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway have a grand total of 25 combined with a population of over 65 million, also have strong English skills for the majority of these countries so again, English isn’t the issue and it’s certainly not an economical issue.

Anyway, just curious what other theories might be. This imbalance has probably led to a lot of frustration as I’m guessing many house sitters are trying to stay in other parts of Europe or in the Schengen zone specifically and are competing over the small quantity.


It’s a real issue. We are doing a ‘European housesitting tour’ and are really struggling to find housesits, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe.

Admin Post Edited to keep comment contribution on topic.

Presumably one important differential between THS and Home Exchange is that THS is about pet-sitting?

More broadly, I suppose factors might be:

  • levels of pet-ownership in different countries
  • cultural attitudes to pet care (the UK famously a nation of animal lovers? May be we are keener on pet-sitting rather than boarding?)
  • disposable income - home-owners with the ability and desire to travel
  • availability of boarding/family options for pet care.

I can’t speak to the pet ownership but all the countries I later added to my post I have never heard (nor seen in some of them myself) having a noticeable disparity in pet ownership compared to the UK or a lack of compassion for pets. I have seen that in other specific parts of the world but not in those countries mentioned.

I mentioned very strong economies. Sure, I’m not suprised Portugal, Montenegro, Lithuania, etc have less but I mentioned many other countries that have the equal or even far greater ability and desire to travel. All of their populations combined are 300% the UK in total so if economic/travel ability being equal, then there should be 6k more options at least in the rest of Europe.

The boarding / family options to take care of pets is a very interesting theory actually.

Hi @stewartlikeshousesitting marketing activities are not confined to the UK we are a global community however there are complexities and other factors involved and there has been a distinct shift in behavior since COVID.

I will take this back for you …

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Thanks for the clarity on marketing. COVID certainly had noticeable effects. But with that said I’ve used TH since before COVID and I’ve noticed this 95% UK to 5% rest of Europe imbalance since the year before the pandemic so in terms of distribution of home owners I’ve seen no difference. But your comment did make me remember that as a home owner myself on TH most of my house sitter applicants are from all over Europe in a much more equal distribution as I would expect with the homeowner distribution to be.

I will say that based on my extremely non-scientific memories over the last few years, is that I tend to see a lot more expats on THS, as opposed to locals. So in Portugal there’s a high concentration of people in the Algarve/Lisbon/Porto areas, many of whom are from elsewhere in Europe, the US, and the UK.

Certainly this doesn’t mean I haven’t seen European hosts advertising European sits, but anecdotally it does seem to skew towards many hosts being from English-speaking countries. Since that’s obviously a smaller portion of the population, it might explain it a bit, as well as the fact that locals may tend to have local networks they can tap into as well?

Other factors likely contribute, but they are off-topic.


A good point. A lot of the time, the need for a pet/house sitter is due to being an expat, or in my experience in the USA, a lot of people who moved from a different state so didn’t have any local connections. But then this doesn’t really change the issue. How are non expats in the UK 95% (actually more since the expat UK ones account for many of the house sits in the rest of Europe) more likely to need house sitters compared to the rest of natives/locals in other countries Europe?

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Didn’t THS start as a British company? I’ve heard that Nomador is French, and people often still say that the sits skew heavily French. So even if the marketing is international, things like referrals and word-of-mouth advertising may keep the growth more localized.


It might be a cultural thing. In some countries it’s usual to ask a neighbour or friend to look after your pets while your away? Or it could be they’ve never heard of the concept or site?
A couple of years ago we felt the same about Scotland and did an interview with a regional paper all about our lifestyle and the site, what it does and how people love it. Maybe some self promotion may help your plight.

I know they are concentrating very heavily on California and the West Coast of America at the moment so maybe all the pennies are being spent on that campaign and it will be Europe next. Who knows the vagaries of promotion.


I would also love to see more housesitting opportunities in Western and Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle and Far East. A marketing campaign would help: newspaper and magazine articles and email, and online advertising would make people in those parts of the world aware of THS.


Nomador website has many more adverts in France, italy, spain, portugal than THS
I guess it’s because texts are translated in french, english and german so owners don’t need to be fluent in english
Also because the fee is less high, and because you can subscribe for a year or less…


@pitcherplant: Yes, I believe TH started in England. Though the site mentions the founder was in the Andes, then sitting in Spain, ironically:

@stewartlikeshousesitting: I’m sure TH would love to have more listings outside the UK. If you get some good insights or constructive criticism, please pass them on to @Angela_L. She can pass them onto Marketing, etc.

Coming from Eastern Europe I see multiple reasons for that. First of all, many people in Eastern Europe and near by countries are not making a lot of money to be able to travel, so with worsening economy there is definitely even less traveling. Second of all, lots of people own outside dogs/cats, so they can just have someone come in and feed pets outside and leave. Plus there is bigger sense of community. There would always be a relative/friend/neighbor willing to come and feed/take care of a pet while the owner is gone. Lastly, there is a distrust letting a stranger in the house from the website even if they are verified. Eastern Europeans are very cautious about scammers and such.


Hello, @anilopa I would like to welcome you to the forum community and thank you for your contribution to this topic. There were some great points that I did not know about housesitting views in Europe and I found it very informative. Thank you :grin:

Please feel free to add your THS sitter profile to your forum profile so that other community members can connect and offer helpful feedback and tips. Here is how:


If you need help doing that please let me know.

Hello fellow sitters in Europe,

This site has always had a strong focus on the UK. I might be mistaken, but I have the feeling that in the past few years the ‘UK dominance’ in terms of available sits has further increased.

On that note, I’m not based in the UK, sometimes I do sits there although generally I prefer doing sits in ‘continental’ Europe.

For example, I just filtered on Europe, all available sits (any pets) between 3 days and 1 month: the result is 69 sits in all of Europe except the UK, and 2000+ sits in UK only. This means that non-UK sits make up about 3% of the total number of sits available. And this is certainly not an unusual situation.

It does mean rather slim pickings for those looking to mainly do Europe-but-not-UK sits. And it probably doesn’t help in that regard that THS has in recent times actively tried to increase the number of sitters joining this site with luring them with slogan around ‘cheaper than AirBnB’ etc. E.g. I’ve always found competition for popular Europe-but-not-UK sits (the 3%) quite steep; and of course, I don’t need to mention here that the 5 application rule makes those sits disappear even faster than before.

What do you think as a sitter? Should THS put more effort in actively trying to increase the number of HOs in continental Europe?

Noticed my thread was moved to this one, as I wasn’t aware someone had posted a very similar question earlier this month.

As to some of the reasons mentioned in terms of less money for travel or more outdoor pets, less compassion - this is certainly not the case for Western/Northern Europe. I’m from the Netherlands - lots and lots of cats & dogs in this country; and a strong sense of ownership.

When I mention THS to pet owners in the Netherlands, they normally have never heard of it yet although usually are very interested as they often struggle with finding friends, neighbours, kennels etc willing/available to look after their pets.

It could well be that outside the UK, it’s mainly expats who have heard of THS. Nonetheless, I would certainly appreciate efforts to have more pet owners in continental Europe sign up, because as mentioned: the pickings are very slim compared to UK!


True @stewartlikeshousesitting I’ve used THS since 2015. Always seen a lot more UK sits than continental Europe, but - although I might be totally wrong - I have the impression that in recent years the ‘balance’ between UK and rest of Europe sits has tipped even further in favour of the UK. It’s quite extreme at the moment…


Interesting debate. Of the 6 overseas sits I’ve done in Europe, 3 were British expats, 2 expats from non English speaking countries but spoke fluent English and 1 native pet owner!
So maybe it’s because THS is mainly an English speaking platform?

Interesting @Bluehorse. Just did a sit in Spain for a Dutch ex-pat with 10 rescue cats. She said she heard of THS via an English ex-pat in the Spanish neighbourhood.