From electronic signatures on purchase agreements to virtual open houses, technology has simplified and changed many parts of the real estate industry. Digital alternatives to regular realty routines, particularly during the height of the pandemic, were critical in keeping things going when in-person connections were at their most limited.
Smart technology is becoming more prevalent in an effort to make our lives easier and more productive, and it’s even making its way into the newest homes on the market.
Smart houses, according to Onkar Dhillon, vice president of operations at TCS Marketing Systems, are becoming the norm today. Consumers desire quick access to information about their homes and the convenience of doing things remotely, especially after a succession of pandemic-induced lockdowns and quarantines.
HomeStars said in its recently published 2021 Reno Report that Canadians have adopted digital advancements at home that improve energy efficiency, streamline workflows, and increase security. More than two-thirds of those who responded to the survey stated they have at least one smart home technology gadget.
According to Dhillon, the cost of real estate in the Greater Toronto Area is continuing to climb, and as a result, incorporating smart home technologies into new building projects is becoming increasingly frequent. Consumer interest in pre-construction housing is fueled by cost savings and convenience.
According to the latest data from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the benchmark price for new single-family homes hit a new high of $1,521,968 in August, while the benchmark price for a condo apartment hit $1,069,700.
“Maintenance fees are definitely a driver for both developers and buyers looking to curtail costs. Individual metering with smart thermostats, smart lighting and other energy-saving features are being integrated into most new development projects where buyers are looking for a combination of savings and convenience,” said Dhillon.
New home buyers are drawn to a variety of in-house technologies, including utility monitoring and simple mail collection, according to Glen Buttigieg, vice president of sales at TCS Marketing Systems. In today’s world of one-click purchases, homeowners, for example, want to know when their box has arrived so they can pick it up from their storage locker, according to Buttigieg. They want to be able to change the temperature of their suite’s thermostat with a few clicks on their phone, or charge their electric vehicle overnight.
The COVID-19 epidemic has also fueled consumer demand for at-home technology, notably those aimed at allowing people to work from home. It’s not uncommon for developers to promote features like Zoom rooms, on-site co-working spaces, and even fully equipped boardrooms that allow you to work remotely without leaving your building.
Buttigieg explains that developers are taking these aspects into account when building projects because the home is receiving so much more use now and the work-from-home movement is here to stay. “There is a need to have the best internet possible available and it is best complimented by work spaces in the building to allow for residents to work from their ‘home,’ offices. Additionally, energy costs of being home more have risen and integrating smart technology to monitor this is an attractive feature developers are using in projects,” said Buttigieg.
Dhillon believes the market will continue to see more integration, allowing homeowners to control their properties remotely, as smart home technology makes things easier and faster. This could pave the way for increased remote monitoring of safety equipment such as smoke detectors and water leaks in the future.
“Technology provides convenience and for the prices being paid, new home buyers are looking to maximize this feature,” said Dhillon.
Dhillon hopes to see this feature included into new home developments as smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home grow more popular, allowing residents to effortlessly do activities like shopping groceries, contacting elevators, and even making dinner reservations through a virtual concierge.