LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Fast broadband tops home buyers’ wish list

Fast broadband tops home buyers’ wish list
When it comes to adding value to your property, broadband speed matters. The digital age has already changed the way we shop, work, communicate and play – and it’s now affecting the way we buy, sell and rent property. Over the past 20 years, fast internet speeds have risen to one of the most important property assets, and even rank above off-street parking and local amenities when considering a new property. In fact, fast broadband connections are so heavily relied on by modern movers for work and leisure that it can add up to 5% to a property’s value, and in London it can boost a property’s value to up to 8% above the market rate as more people in the city are willing to pay a premium†. Internet That means that broadband speed can add a staggering £45,312 to London property’s average value or £13,663 to the average property price in England and Wales. Currently, internet connections are supplied by Internet Service Providers. Latest figures show that the average broadband speed in the UK was 10.7 megabits (mb) per second in the third quarter of 2014, with the UK ranked 12th in Europe and lagging behind Norway, Ireland and Romania. The increasing reliance on fast internet access for homes and businesses has put pressure on governments to intervene and make high speed broadband universal. The European Commission’s target is for all citizens to have access to at least 30 mb/second and for at least 50% to subscribe to connections above 100 mb/second by 2020. However, the National Audit Office says that the UK government’s superfast broadband roll out to rural areas is two years behind schedule. There is good news on the horizon in some parts of the country. BT OpenReach has just completed its superfast broadband roll out across the Scottish Highlands and is currently targeting weak spots in the City of London. Parts of Berkshire, Cambridge, Cumbria, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Suffolk, Wales and West Yorkshire are also in BT’s sights during 2015. Interestingly, the digital influence is more keenly felt by the younger market. A reliable mobile phone signal is the number one priority for young home buyers, according to new research*. For people aged 18-35, a strong mobile phone signal was a more important deciding factor than council tax bands, crime levels and schools. So what does this all mean if you’re searching for your next property investment or home? Landlords and investors of properties geared towards students and young professionals would be most wise to investigate internet speeds and mobile network coverage when selecting their next move. Your local Martin & Co agent will be able to give you a comprehensive, evidence-based property appraisal or a valuation, and will advise you on what effect digital connections may have on its value and marketability. You can trust in their expertise to market your property’s best assets to the right audiences in order to achieve your property goals. Don’t forget, superfast broadband is still only one in a wide of factors influencing decision making and property values. The likes of location, proximity to schools, amenities and transport links and off-street parking all have an important role to play now and in the future. Checking your internet speed is easy. There are a number of websites providing free internet speed tests, such as www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk,http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest and http://www.cable.co.uk If you’re looking at UK mobile phone coverage, Which? has a great 3G and 4G coverage map where you can find out the weak and hot spots in your area. If the broadband connection is weak in your area, you can use BT Openreach’s postcode checker to find out about the current status for fibre broadband availability near you. [font_italic]†Research by Imperial College London August 2014 *Research by RootMetrics 2014[/font_italic]