Good local schools, strong travel links and access to local amenities are three of the more traditional deal breakers for house hunters but increasingly, it is internet speed and access which is influencing homebuyers’ decisions. Described by one property expert as the fourth utility after gas, water and electricity, broadband speed is being shown to influence more and more property deals and now estate agency group, Romans, says that buyers will start taking 4G (fourth generation of mobile phone technology) access into consideration when looking for a new home.
Over the last year a number of industry surveys and studies have indicated the increased importance of internet access and speed. Property portal Rightmove surveyed 3,000 users, revealing that the majority said that broadband speed was the most important aspect when looking for a home.
The firm added broadband speed to each property listing in the New Year and has since confirmed that the new information attracts over 400,000 monthly page views.
BBC property expert Henry Pryor said that slow broadband speeds can wipe as much as 20% off the value of properties and lack of superfast connectivity in an area can be the difference between a sale or not.
Meanwhile, last year, the Halifax conducted a survey which found that 20% of respondents would pay more for the same home if it had good broadband. What’s more, 22% of them would pay between 4 and 10% more.
Unsurprisingly, the bank’s survey also confirmed that good broadband connection is more important to younger people, with 40% of 18-24 year olds prepared to pay more, compared to 24% of those aged 65 and over.
This was fortified by yet another survey – this time carried out by mobile analytics firm RootMetrics – which found that 45% of 18 to 35-year-olds say having a good signal at home is now the most important factor when choosing a property – almost twice the rate of people aged 55 and over.
The government is aiming for 95% of UK households to have access to a superfast network by 2017 and currently, according to Ofcom, these superfast speeds are being accessed by around a quarter of the population.
Home Counties estate agency network Romans is seeing how quickly traffic to its own web and mobile site is increasing and residential sales director Antony Gibson says that in his experience broadband connection is starting to play a part in buyers’ initial area research on a more frequent basis.
“Fibre and 4G are the latest tech buzzwords and are, fortunately, becoming more widely available across the UK,” he says. “With mobile internet usage soaring beyond everyone’s expectations I predict buyers will start to seriously take 4G coverage into consideration when house hunting – after all, we all know how annoying it is when you visit a friend’s house and you can’t access the internet on your mobile.”
Cadman Homes, an estate agents in Rugby, certainly agree with this. They offer broadband speed and availability for potential buyers and can even arrange broadband for clients. As a letting agent, Cadman Homes are also seeing an increase in student applications, and people who work from home. These people have ever increasing demands for broadband and phone signal. In the Rugby area and 4G connectivity is spreading to the Rugby area. All of this is good news for the economy, as well as landlords and vendors in the local area as demand increases for properties to buy and rent in the Rugby area.