Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
In a study of more than 400 consumers nationwide that are either owners of newly constructed homes or prospective buyers of the same, researchers found that 49% of the target consumers, presented with at least one home technology option, made a purchase.
Build it in and they will buy. That is the message from a new consumer research report recently released by the Internet Home Alliance. In a study of more than 400 consumers nationwide that are either owners of newly constructed homes or prospective buyers of the same, researched found that 49% of the target consumers, presented with at least one home technology option, made a purchase. The most commonly purchased home technology option — a home security system — followed closely by pre-wiring for cable or satellite television and a built-in home theater.
Where buyers and builder may differ is in expectations. Consumers expect that the top two technology features should be standard in every new home. In 63% of new homes pre-wiring for cable or satellite TV is an included feature, however, few builders write both these features into the standard.
Voted "somewhat important" by new home owners and prospects are the following technologies:
- structured wiring
- multi-zone HVAC systems
- air purification systems
- wireless home computer networks
- energy management systems
- community-wide, high speed Internet connections
- home control/automation systems
- lighting control
While a majority of respondents say they were either "somewhat" or "very familiar" with many of the technology options available, participants summed up their experiences in understanding, valuing and selecting these options in one word: "overwhelming." According to the research, technology options were the last-mentioned and often were presented in a cursory, checklist fashion. Consumers reported they would prefer to purchase technology options after seeing them featured in a showroom.
Especially appealing to respondents is the ability to roll technology costs into their home mortgage.
Researchers at the Internet Home Alliance, after reviewing the qualitative and quantitative data, classified technology options into three tiers, ranging from most to least important:
Tier One: pre-wired cable/satellite TV and home security system. The average importance score for these options either matched or exceed the score for the least-valued standard option — the number, style and placement of exterior lights.
Tier Two: structured wiring, multi-zone HVAC, air purification system, wireless home computer network, energy management system, built-in home theater system, community-wide, high speed Internet connection, home control/automation system and lighting control. These options, on average, are considered "somewhat important."
Tier Three: remaining technologies studied, including Web cameras and Internet-enabled refrigerators. Neither option failed to score better than neutral.