While Canadians have been slow adopters of smart home technology, the luxury market has embraced it with gusto—and condominium developers have taken note.
Additionally, smart home technology augments a home’s value, says Forest Hill Real Estate broker Matt Smith.
“Any time technology can save time, money and energy, there is a major value-add,” said Smith. “These features can really perk up a buyer’s interest, not only because of its unique nature but because there are significant savings involved. Nest thermostats claim they can reduce an owner’s heating and cooling bill by up to 20%. How much extra a buyer will pay for that is up to the individual buyer and how much value these conveniences are worth to them. There is no general rule of thumb here, but we typically see these smart technologies more frequently in the higher end of the market where sellers are already looking for a premium. These technologies help justify the existing premium.”
Smart home technologies are also being democratized, as a growing number of builders in the condo sector are using these technologies to incent purchasers.
“It is common for condominium builders to use these as an incentive to buyers, attracting a new segment of the market and differentiating themselves from the other developments taking place throughout the city,” said Smith. “As more and more millennials begin to enter the housing market, I expect to see this trend magnify and increase in popularity.”
According to Smith, smart home appliances, like fridges, stoves and ovens, as well as smart heating and cooling systems, and smart alarm and monitoring systems are incredibly popular because they’re controlled by Wi-Fi and buyers can exercise control and customization.
“Built-in USB ports are expected now,” he said. “Smart elevators are being incorporated into some of the larger developments downtown to cut wait times and improve speed. Automated lighting and automated window coverings are increasingly becoming popular. In the high-end properties, they are now expected, just like stainless appliances and granite countertops are expected.”
Anita Springate-Renaud, broker of record at Engel & Völkers Toronto Central, says smart home technology is practically mandatory in luxury homes, and added that they can add value even to moderately-priced homes—within reason, of course.
“I think it adds value, but I don’t know if it’s a huge value-add,” she said. “If a luxury home doesn’t have it, it’s a hindrance. I don’t know if you’d quantify it as X dollars more if it was in a moderately-priced home.”
But she says smart metres, like programmable thermostats or light controls, can help increase a home’s asking price.
“It depends what you’re doing,” she said, “but a programmable thermostat, where you can turn the heat down when you’re away and turn it up when you’re on your way back, or controlling the lights, or a Sonos System, where you can play music in different areas of the house, add value. One person can listen to the opera in the living room and in the kitchen somebody else can be listening to Elvis Presley.”
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