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The Future of Home Building and Residential Construction

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Renters are willing to pay for a smart home device, so make sure it's a good one. Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Homeowners aren’t the only ones who hanker for smart home tech. A significant majority of renters (82%) also want at least one smart device or system in their homes. That’s a key finding from a recent survey that asked over 1,500 people about internet-connected devices that automate, manage, and monitor home appliances and systems.

Yet despite that strong interest, there’s a big gap between what renters want and what they have. About half (49%) of apartment renters and 44% of house renters don’t currently have a single smart device in their units. By contrast, only 18% and 16% of those renters, respectively, don’t want one.


And renters are willing to plunk down more money to get what they want. When they’re asked the monthly amount between $0 and $100 that they’d pay for smart home tech, the average is almost $38.

For developers and builders of multi-unit residences, the implications are clear: “The survey highlights an opportunity to provide a service that will attract renters and that renters are willing to pay a premium for,” says Jon Leckie, data journalist for apartment search engine

Amount that respondents are willing to pay for smart home technology
Average price respondents are willing to pay based on number of devices wanted

There’s a critical caveat, however. While renters would pay close to $40 to have one smart device, they won’t keep coughing up that much for each additional device. In fact, for them to pay $53 a month for smart tech, a property would have to provide five devices. “The biggest surprise was the gap between what renters were willing to pay for one device compared to additional devices,” Leckie says.

Also, most renters don’t want a complete smart home system, the survey finds. The largest group of respondents (21%) want just one device.

The takeaway for multi-unit owners: Smart tech can help attract renters, but it might not be worth investing in more than one device.

And that one device probably should be a thermostat. Among the types of smart devices that renters want, “thermostats were the clear winner,” Leckie says. It’s the most desired device (about 45% of apartment and house renters), with lights and locks a close second and third. Yet relatively few tenants now have a smart thermostat (15% of apartment renters and about 21% of house renters).

Smart devices in rental homes
82% of renters want at least one smart home device in their home, according to report

The survey also sheds light on the tech that renters don’t consider important, with voice assistance devices (like Alexa) topping that list. “Voice devices likely performed poorly because many renters already have them,” Leckie says. Voice control systems are marketed directly to consumers, and they’re easy to set up, the survey notes.

In fact, voice devices are the smart tech that renters are most likely to own (almost a quarter of apartment renters and almost a third of house renters). And among renters who have at least one smart device, the most common is voice (50%). That’s followed by appliances (41%), lights (36%), and thermostats (33%).

Renters also don’t place a lot of importance on smart package lockers. But while lockers are the least used smart device among renters, the survey found lockers could attract tech-savvy tenants.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who pay more in monthly rent would also pay more for most smart devices. The difference isn’t great, however. Residents with less than $500 in monthly rent would spend $35-$41 a month for most smart devices (though they would pay over $47 for secure storage lockers). Those whose monthly rent bill ranges between $500 and over $2,000 would spend $40-$50 per month for most devices.

The survey also uncovered similarities and differences between house and apartment tenants.

More house renters than apartment renters use smart home tech in general (56% versus 49%) and voice control systems in particular (29% versus 23%). Both house and apartment dwellers overall want the same smart devices (thermostats, lights, and locks). But more apartment renters than house renters want a smart appliance (36% versus 31%) and a secure package locker (23% versus 16%).

To view the full report from, click the button below.