Jamie Johnson, CEO at FJP Investment explores…
Homeowners are constantly seeking new ways to make their lives easier, safer, more affordable and, in recent years, more environmentally friendly. So, the sharp rise in demand for properties equipped with smart technology should come as no surprise.
Smart-tech – which generally refers to devices and appliances that can be controlled remotely by voice or through another device such as a tablet or phone through a network connection – came to the forefront of many homeowner considerations over the last two years when remote working become ‘the new normal’ and people found themselves spending more time within their home.
Despite an end to distancing restrictions, remote and hybrid working is here to stay. Recent figures from ONS show that 84% of workers who had to work from home during the pandemic said they planned to carry out a mix of working at home and in their place of work in the future.
This huge shift in working practices has led to a change in preferences, notably regarding smart-tech, as many seek further comfort in not just their home but now their workplace.
In a world where advances in tech are constantly boosting productivity, efficiency is key, regardless of where an individual’s workplace may be.
As such, more homeowners are opting for smart-tech that has the potential to add more convenience to their lives. Once considered a niche, or perhaps even somewhat of a gimmick, smart-tech such as voice-operated lighting, TV’s and music speakers have become commonplace. This is only likely to increase in households where those working out of a home office seek to make everyday tasks simpler.
The rising popularity of smart kitchen appliances, for example, appear to highlight this. Recent figures show that Google searches for smart dishwashers are up by 62% and smart overs have risen by 61% alongside increases in other appliances such as smart fridges and washing machines.
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Certainly, buyers’ expectations have shifted towards digitalised amenities that provide a comfortable environment that facilitates the balance of family, social, and professional lives. A centralised system that can, say, provide updates on stock through a smart fridge, whilst also being able to control the underfloor heating, are giving people more control over their homes – as their home becomes more pertinent to their lives.
This has become even more relevant in the current economic climate as soaring inflation and energy bills are leading individuals to ensure their property is as cost efficient as possible. Full control of energy consuming appliances from cookers to heating systems has is more important than ever for financial squeezed households. Indeed, recent research by FJP found that 42% of UK homeowners have installed a smart meter – likely caused by their effectiveness of staying on top of increasing energy bills.
Developers must keep up
Property developers must take heed of these changing preferences if they wish to stay competitive.
In a survey by Whathouse? over 80% of estate agents stated that smart-tech had helped them sell houses, meanwhile, more than 50% had sold property with smart-tech for a higher price than comparable properties and, in most cases, more than 5% above the standard asking prices.
As such, incorporating smart-tech readiness into constructions plans will not only contribute to the delivery of more environmentally friendly homes that will meet buyers’ changing demand, but will also boost their value – something that should be taken into account considering the fact that experts are predicting a slowdown of the market.
Over the last two years consumers have assessed what is really important to them in a home as work patterns become increasingly hybrid. This gives the sector a chance to evaluate its current standard operating procedures in construction in order to keep up with evolving trends. Embracing smart technologies will become ever-more important in delivering value to satisfy buyers’ present and future needs while maintaining their competitiveness in today’s rapidly evolving market.