House hunters put broadband before beer
Fast broadband availability is becoming more important to house hunters than traditional must-haves such as off-street parking, panoramic views, en-suites, access to local amenities and a pub.
Forget breathtaking views, jacuzzis and en-suite bathrooms – what most house-hunters really want is fast and reliable broadband.
A good broadband service now beats off-street parking and access to local amenities as one of the vital deciding factors for people buying a new house.
The findings are the result of a nationwide study of 1,500 homebuyers and the first trial by independent estate agents to test the impact of broadband on potential buyers by including internet speeds in their adverts.
Knowing that a property has good broadband speeds was routinely ranked as more important than traditional selling points such as off street parking, and access to amenities like shops and a local pub.
One in five questioned had actively checked broadband speeds when evaluating a house – even before doing a recce of the local area.
And one in 10 house-hunters admitted they had walked away from properties with a poor internet connection.
Proving how important buyers consider good broadband, one in five new movers revealed they arranged an internet provider before connecting their gas or TV service. In fact, setting up a broadband connection was second only to finding a new electricity supplier in the priorities pecking order.
As well as making a property more appealing, the study also revealed that broadband could help add to house values.
One in five prospective buyers said they would be happy to pay more for a property, with a third willing to pay between two and five per cent extra, to have a high speed broadband connection – that’s an extra £15,000 on a £300,000 home.
The study carried out by broadbandchoices.co.uk and property expert Henry Pryor was supplemented by a trial with independent estate agents, Delaney’s, in which broadband speeds were included in online house adverts.
This discovered that adverts in which broadband details were included along with price, room sizes and kitchen descriptions attracted twice as many viewing requests as those without.
Rob Delaney, managing director of the Essex company, comments: “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.”
The changing economic climate has also played a part in this shift in priorities as people don’t just rely on a good internet connection for browsing the web and TV but also for working from home.
Dominic Baliszewski, of broadbandchoices.co.uk, adds: “Broadband has become something that people are not prepared to live without, so it’s little wonder it’s now such a major factor for homebuyers – much like running water or a central heating system.
“It’s very easy to check broadband speeds in a specific area so we’d urge potential home buyers to do this rather than be left disappointed.”
The research findings have prompted broadbandchoices.co.uk to include all fibre optic package details on its Ofcom-accredited postcode search tool, which lets homebuyers check the broadband deals by price and speed available at their prospective new home.
The site also offers a broadband speed testers for users to check their existing connection speed from anywhere in the UK – useful for those selling their homes. Both services are available at www.broadbandchoices.co.uk