A good broadband connection now beats off-street parking and access to local amenities as one of the vital deciding factors for people buying a new house, according to a new survey of house hunters. The findings follow a nationwide study of 1,500 home buyers carried out by broadbandchoices.co.uk and property expert, Henry Pryor.
And in the first trial of its kind, independent estate agents have tested the impact of broadband on the buying decisions of home movers, by including internet speeds on their adverts.
The survey found that knowing that a property had good broadband speeds was routinely ranked as more important than traditional selling points such as off street parking, access to amenities like shops, and a local pub.
One in five questioned had actively checked broadband speeds when evaluating a house – even before checking out the facilities in the local area. And 1 in 10 house seekers admitted they had walked away from properties with a poor internet connection.
Confirming how important buyers consider a good broadband service, one in five (19%) new movers revealed they arranged an Internet provider before connecting their gas (10%) or TV service (8%) – setting up a broadband connection was second only to finding a new electricity supplier.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said, “In this digital age, a fast broadband connection is becoming more and more important for home-hunters. People don’t just rely on a good internet connection for browsing the web, but also television entertainment and working from home. As the consumer technologies which rely on Internet connection in the home expand, the need for a strong internet connection will be added to more and more home mover wish lists.”
As well as making a property more appealing, the study also revealed that broadband could add to the value of a house. One in five (18%) prospective buyers said they would be happy to pay more for a property – a third claimed they would pay between two and five per cent extra – in order to have a high-speed broadband connection. This could add as much as £15,000 to the value of a property worth £300,000.
The survey results complement previous research conducted in the U.S. by the FTTH Council, which found that a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connection boosted property values (see "FTTH gives homeowners a raise").
In the advertising trial, which was carried out by broadbandchoices.co.uk and independent estate agents Delaney’s, broadband speeds were included online, along with price, the number of bedrooms and room sizes. Viewing requests for those properties showing broadband speeds were twice as high as those without.
Rob Delaney, managing director of Delaney’s Estate Agents in Essex, said, “As with south-facing gardens and good schools, people are now on the hunt for homes with fast broadband – it’s a sign of the times. But we were still really surprised with the results of this trial. We’re now displaying broadband speeds on all our property details going forward, as it’s clear that’s what customers are looking for.”
Dominic Baliszewski of broadbandchoices.co.uk commented, “When it comes to buying a property it seems that it’s more a case of broadband, broadband, broadband than location, location, location."
For more information on FTTx/access systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.