People Buy New Homes for the High Tech

Generation X and Millennials drive technology-integrated housing.

Millennials have been the focus of residential real estate for quite some time. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR's) Generational Trends Report for 2019 shows that 37 percent of home buyers are Millennials. 

Due to the increasing number of Millennials buying homes, residential builders are naturally focusing on how to attract and entice this demographic. The survey found that technology is one of the primary driving desires of home buyers.


Smart Tech Is A Cultural Expectation

It's hardly surprising that Millennials favor homes with technology-based infrastructure, since they have grown up with cell phones and all manner of “smart” devices.

Technology integration isn't just a priority for Millennials when selecting a home. According to the report from NAR, Generation X home buyers account for 24 percent of the home-buying market. 

When choosing a home, Gen Xers also prioritize technology. The results of a Cox Communications survey conducted in 2019 further confirmed this. A total of 604 Millennials and Gen Xers participated in the survey, all of whom intend to buy a home within two years. Technology compatibility drove the decision of these individuals to buy a new-build over a resale home.

With wireless-ready homes, homeowners don't need to wait for installation when they move in.

Breaking Down Home Tech Requirements

In the survey, we were able to gain a better understanding of what type of home-tech expectations buyers have. Here are some examples:

  • For remote work, online classes, and high-definition streaming movies, 75% of Millennials and 77% of Gen Xers prefer fiber-to-the-home broadband internet.
  • Over 50% of Millennials and 48% of Gen Xers seek wireless connectivity on outdoor gathering grounds, in clubhouses, and near swimming pools.
  • 54% of Millennials and 51% of Gen Xers are looking for built-in, ready-to-use smart devices, such as thermostats, cameras, light switches, and refrigerators — all of which can be controlled through mobile apps.

Thus, homebuilders are challenged by the tech wish lists of these buyers (and many current homeowners). A construction project that integrates technology is obviously more advantageous than one that implements it after the fact in an existing house.

Cox Communications' director of consumer insights Wendy Rosen says these types of systems help home buyers overcome hurdles. There is no need for them to think about it. It is possible for builders to drive appeal and command higher prices with this type of built-in amenity. As a result, new buyer streams are opened up."

What steps can builders take now, to provide the desired technology features? Rivas explains that at the least, fiber cable or Category 6A wiring should be used in homes to support wired and wireless technology. In addition, homes need to have a centrally located structured wiring panel with power (such as a pantry in the kitchen).

There will only be more calls for sophisticated technology in the future.

High-Tech Handholding Wanted?

A Millennial wants not only their homes to be smarter, but also the companies that power them.  

A recent Accenture report found that 61% of Millennials would be willing to sign up for a digital application that tracked their energy usage and controlled their household climate within the next five years. It is expected that 56 percent of them will install solar panels in the same timeframe. The same was said by 36% of baby boomers and 30% of Gen X respondents.

Millennials want constant technological advancement, from basic services to plug-and-play energy service for the 21st century that is convenient and consumer-friendly.

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