Consumer Interest Rising in Smart Homes

WASHINGTON — As smart homes become more popular and widespread, home buyers and remodeling consumers are showing increased interest in both smart-home technologies and certifications that acknowledge realtors’ and specifiers’ experience and expertise in smart-home features.

That’s the key conclusion of a major new report issued last month by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The report, which analyzed the importance of smart-home technology to realtors across the country, has significant implications for kitchen and bath designers, and remodelers, who are often called upon by clients to specify smart-home features in both new and remodeled homes.

According to the report, 42% of surveyed respondents said they are interested in acquiring a smart-home certification, while just 22% reported they are not interested and 36% said they were undecided.

“More homeowners are adopting smart-home technology, and that will likely impact buyers’ purchase decisions in the future,” said William Brown, president of the Washington, DC-based NAR.

“While consumer interest in this trend is still developing, realtors are becoming well-versed in successfully marketing smart homes and their features, such as devices and appliances,” Brown added.

In terms of specific smart-home features, 37% of the realtors surveyed reported that home buyers find smart locks to be very important, followed by lights at 29% and thermostats at 26%. Forty-three percent of the surveyed realtors said home buyers were neutral about the importance of voice-control features and 38% felt the same about smart appliances and doorbells.

When it comes to the importance of smart-home functions to home buyers, 80% of the surveyed realtors said they see security as “very” or “somewhat” important. Nearly half view privacy as a “very” important smart-home function to home buyers, while 30% see it as “somewhat” important. Four in 10 realtors reported they see both cost savings and energy savings to be “very” important to homeowners, and 38% see comfort to be a very important smart home function.

Of the many types of smart-home technologies available, 42% of surveyed realtors said homeowners were most interested in smart-home devices, followed by whole-home technology (22%) and smart-home technology for specific rooms (13%).

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