Eighty percent of new homebuyers opted for smart home upgrades, according to a new study by Harvard researchers.

If you thought smart homes were just a passing trend, think again. Buyer demand for devices that enable remote control or home monitoring systems will continue to grow not only for new homes but also existing ones, according to a survey from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

In general, homeowners are excited about installing smart home technology such as smart locks, virtual voice assistants and home monitoring systems, and those under 45 years old and those with high incomes are most likely to value smart technology. Thirty percent of all people surveyed were likely to install these products.

“Smart home technology — widely understood as devices that enable remote control and/or monitoring of household systems — is expected to be a major area of growth for the remodeling industry over the coming years,” the survey reads.

JCHS tabulations of The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab, “Top Smart Home Technologies for Mature Homeowners.”

After analyzing recent studies on home technology, the researchers concluded that demand for smart home devices will grow even more than it already has. One of the studies they looked at found that 80 percent of new home buyers chose to include smart home upgrades in their house in 2017.

While many new homes now come already equipped with smart home technology, the findings show that homeowners are increasingly looking to add these products to existing homes. The demand for devices that can be controlled from a phone or tablet is particularly high, with one study findng that 62 percent of consumers want their smart home devices to be connected to one another through some sort of central hub.

However, some homebuyers are concerned about safety and privacy. A separate study found that three-quarters of those surveyed worry about personal data being used without their permission. Nonetheless, only 28 percent of consumers in the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, UK and Japan refuse to buy smart home technology due to these worries.

The smart home industry is also marketing their products as a way to assist older adults. Fifty-one percent of homeowners over 50 have installed some of these devices with the purpose of enhancing security, saving energy and making day-to-day life easier.

Overall, many remodeling companies and contractors have seen increased demand for home automation devices. More than 50 percent installed them regularly while 28 percent of remodelers surveyed said they have already observed increased income from these devices.

“In short, we know a lot about the rapidly growing smart home tech industry but there are holes in our knowledge, particularly with regard to how this technology is actually integrated into remodeling projects,” the study concludes. “What is the role of manufacturers in driving installations of smart home tech products in the context of traditional home remodeling projects?”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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