A fifth of UK renters claim they would fork out up to 10% more in rent each month for smart features in their home, an industry poll has found.
Build-to-rent (BTR) provider Wise Living surveyed 1,000 renters across the UK to find out what people look for in a new home – including their attitude to technology, eco-features, and landlord services.
According to the latest rental stats from Rightmove, the average UK rent (excluding London) is £982. Using Wise Living’s research, renters would be willing to pay an extra £1,178 in rent a year for a home that has integrated smart features.
When looking at renters living in the Greater London area, this jumps to an extra £2,302 a year, where the average renter pays £1,919 pcm.
Nearly 85% of those surveyed wanted instant connectivity, including access to superfast broadband and TV packages, in a rental property – while 75% would look for smart lighting and heating, and another 74% wanting to see smart security systems included in rental homes.
While the trend is being driven by 18 to 34-year-olds, there’s a clear appetite for smart home tech among older age groups, also. The study found that almost half of over-35s would be willing to pay up to 5% more for a tech-friendly rental property.
Anne Malone, head of customer experience at Wise Living, believes the pandemic has accelerated UK renters’ appetite for smart technology integrated within the home.
She says: “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, in particular, is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’ but an essential utility for many households.”
“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.”
Malone adds: “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.”