Rightmove adds broadband speeds to search
PROPERTY website Rightmove has become the first house finder site to include broadband information for advertised homes.
Rightmove have confirmed that their service for displaying average broadband speeds and the availability of network providers has now gone live.
Over a million houses on the Rightmove website now show broadband data, and users of the site are viewing the statistics over 400,000 times per month.
Each property listing gives the user a link to click which takes them to the broadband data page. Alongside showing users the typical broadband speeds they can expect to receive at the property, Rightmove also show the service providers that operate in the area, as well as providing information regarding upgrading to faster speeds.
An independent survey has found that Rightmove customers are already using the data to help them make important decisions.
The survey, using feedback from 3,000 users, and found that the information about broadband data, for some, was of higher importance than that of local schools and transport systems.
"We're always considering new developments to our website and mobile platforms, to make sure we provide Rightmove users with the best property search experience," said Bernard Phillips, Head of Consumer Platforms at Rightmove.
Right move on broadband data
The broadband information that Rightmove provide is based on average speed data from Point Topic, a broadband market intelligence firm.
Internet users in the property can expect to receive the average broadband speed 75% of the time they spend using the internet, Point Topic say, although multiple factors - not least which broadband provider the household decides to use will obviously have a big impact.
In addition, computer and hardware configuration, the amount of internet traffic, server specifications, and traffic numbers can all affect the actual speeds received by the user.
It's also important to note that the actual information displayed on the Rightmove website is a few months old, and may not give accurate data if changes have been recently made to the local exchange.
Point Topic data also struggles to tell whether Virgin Media is available in an area, since it doesn't match up with the BT phone network (this site has the same problem).
Do fast broadband speeds boost house prices?
Rightmove's decision to ensure potential buyers are provided with broadband information shows just how important good internet access is becoming, though sometimes the link seems more like wishful thinking than reality.
A Government report released at the end of last year (available here), said there was emerging evidence that a house price can be impacted by the quality and speed of the broadband connection, though that assertion was largely based on research which hasn't been published yet.
What evidence we do have is from estate agents and fairly small surveys.
This week, BBC property expert Henry Pryor said that a property without a standard broadband connection could be worth 20% less than a comparable property, though that's not all that surprising: any house with a phone line should be able to get standard broadband now.
What's more interesting is whether those looking for a new home are particularly interested in superfast broadband, and there's limited evidence for that.
In December 2012, Halifax conducted a survey that asked potential home buyers about their views on how important a good broadband speed was to them.
30% of those questioned stated that their decision would be affected by the internet speed at the property they were viewing. 13% said they would be willing to pay up to 3% more on a home for a good broadband connection.
Age appears to play a part in determining how important good broadband is to a buyer.
40% of 18 to 24 year olds questioned in the poll said that broadband data information would impact their decisions, while only 24% of those aged 65+ agreed that it would help them arrive at a decision.
A 2012 Ispreview poll had more positive results, 57.4% of those questioned said that they'd pay more for a house with superfast broadband and 80% agreed that lack of good broadband would put them off buying a "beautiful new house", though the fact that this was a reader poll on a broadband news website might have led to a somewhat biased sample.
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