Earlier this year we surveyed 1,000 renters across the UK to find out what people look for in a new home, including their attitudes to technology, eco-features, and landlord services.
The results captured a moment in time – a point where people were more closely connected with their home than at any time in recent history. It revealed that tech is now so important in our lives that a fifth of UK renters say they would be willing to fork out up to 10% more in rent each month for smart features in their home.
If we take the average UK rent (£982 pcm – excluding London), that means renters would be happy to shell out an extra £1,178 in rent a year for a home that has integrated smart features. When examining renters living in the Greater London area, where the average tenant pays £1,919 pcm, this jumps to an extra £2,302 a year.
Almost 85% of all those surveyed wanted instant connectivity, including access to superfast broadband and TV packages, in a rental property. Meanwhile, three quarters (75%) would look for smart lighting and heating, with another 74% wanting to see smart security systems included in rental homes.
Although this trend is unsurprisingly being driven by 18 to 34-year-olds, from the tech-savvy millennial and Gen Z demographics, there is also a clear appetite for smart home tech among older age groups as well. Our findings revealed that nearly half of over-35s would be willing to pay up to 5% more for a tech-friendly rental property.
Our head of customer experience, Anne Malone, believes the pandemic has accelerated UK renters’ appetite for smart technology integrated within the home:
“Our findings demonstrate that people want more than the basics from their rental homes – they’re looking for a place that gives them a good quality of life too as for many their home is now also their office. Super-fast broadband is no longer just a nice-to-have but an essential utility for many households,” she said.
“The Covid-19 lockdowns influenced our attitudes towards technology as we depended on it for remote working and streaming entertainment services but it’s not the only reason.
“In fact, the survey results reflect the wider changes that have been taking place in the rental market for several years.
She continued: “We’re seeing growing numbers of families and older couples opting for purpose-built rental properties in the suburbs, so it’s not just younger professionals living in city centre apartments. This is usually because they’re looking for flexibility and convenience – which explains why they want their homes kitted out with the latest technology too.”
While the results pulled out three key topics that people feel strongly about, the devil – as always – is in the detail. Download your free copy of Smart, Green & Flexible: Building the future home for rent here.