As the housing market continues to heat up, it's interesting see what trends are changing. Are people still looking for big walk-in closets, stainless steel appliances and spacious kitchens? Sure. But there are signs that times are changing. Earlier this year, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate published a survey
of the next generation of homebuyers, 18-35 year olds who are challenging the traditional norms surrounding home purchases. It turns out high-tech features are top on the list of features homebuyers are seeking.
- Technology. Homebuyers now expect the same convenience and control in their homes that they get from their smartphones and tablets, as well as the same kind of connectivity they experience 24/7. Surprisingly, more than half of the survey respondents believe that home technology is more important than curb appeal. Of the millennials who were surveyed, 84% believe technology is absolutely essential in a home. That sentiment extends to luxury homebuyers, considered a trendsetting crowd, 87% of whom wouldn't even consider a home that wasn't tech friendly.
- Home automation. For most people, technology in the home might just encompass having ethernet cables run throughout the whole house to accommodate all of the connected devices that seem to be increasingly prevalent in our homes. Home builders are increasingly partnering with home automation companies to provide smart home capabilities to new buyers. Many report that all they have to do is show a potential buyer how they can control the lights, temperature, security system, locks and audio systems right from a smartphone or tablet and buyers are sold. That's not surprising when you consider that 41% would be more likely to brag to a friend about having a home automation system than boasting about a newly renovated kitchen. Control like that is a little more impressive than granite countertops.
- Whole-home entertainment. Man caves and home theaters were high on the list of features that customers found appealing. But entertainment is no longer limited to just a single room. Today's homebuyers want to have their music piped to every room in the house – via wires or wirelessly – and to spaces outside the house too, including garages and patios. As a matter of fact, nearly 60% of the respondents would rather have a TV in the kitchen than a second oven.
- Energy management. Today's homebuyers are also looking to technology to help them manage energy costs. When asked what solutions were most interesting, smart thermostats and energy efficient appliances topped the list of sought after items. Motion sensors, motorized shades and fan control are all other tools that can be combined to create energy efficiencies.
- Quality not quantity. Another interesting trend is that people are more than willing to sacrifice a little extra space in order to have the highest quality amenities in their homes. Better appliances, cabinets, finishes and technology seem to be gaining importance over extra rooms. Apparently the era of the McMansion may have passed.
Interesting, isn't it? And it's not like there's going to be less technology in our world in the future. Homes will have to accommodate more connected devices, appliances, systems and technology in a way that's easy and convenient but also keeps in the background while we live our lives. Seems like there's no better time to invest in smart homes.