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UK House Buyers Would Reject Homes With Poor Broadband Speed

Monday, July 30th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 2,515
house for sale with slow broadband warning sign

The purchase of a new home is the biggest investment that most people will ever make and getting a good broadband speed forms part of that decision making process. The latest ISPreview.co.uk poll of 2,046 readers has found that 54.7% would reject an ideal house if it couldn’t deliver their desired speed and a third seek 100Mbps+.

The survey highlights that as the quality of national broadband ISP networks has improved, so too have our expectations for the desired internet performance of a new property.

Back in 2015 a similar survey conducted by ISPr found that 50Mbps+ was the “minimum” broadband speed that a new home buyer could tolerate (67% of respondents), while today 34.2% desire 100Mbps+ and many would be willing to pay extra for a house in order to get it.

When buying a new house, what is the minimum broadband speed you could tolerate (pick closest)?
50Mbps – 39.5%
100Mbps+ – 34.2%
25Mbps – 18.1%
10Mbps – 7%
Not sure – 0.9%

What would you do if the house, which might otherwise be perfect, offered lower speeds than your minimum?
Reject it – 54.7%
Negotiate lower price – 33.8%
I’m not fussed – 11.3%

How much more would you pay for an ideal house with 100Mbps+ broadband (pick closest)?
I wouldn’t pay extra – 48.6%
I’m not sure – 14%
1% More – 10.9%
0.5% More – 9.1%
2-3% More – 9%
More than 3% – 8%

NOTE: Haliax’s May 2018 House Price Index stated that the average UK house price is now a little over £224K (i.e. 0.5% of £224K = £1,120 and 1% = £2,240 and 3% = £6,720).

Lately the government has made a lot of noise about how their intervention has helped to extend the reach of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) from 76% to 95% of UK premises, which will rise to cover 98% by c.2020. But our survey suggests that expectations for house buyers could rise faster than the government’s ambition, although 100Mbps+ connections are already available to roughly half of premises (mostly via Virgin Media).

On the other hand the government and Ofcom have just set out a major new strategy for bringing 1000Mbps capable “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband networks to every premises in the UK (here and here), although it will take until 2033 to fully deliver on this.

Nevertheless most of the currently available evidence for the impact of broadband speed on house prices remains fairly anecdotal, although a 2014 study conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) did claim that property prices increased by an average of around 3% when the available broadband speeds doubled (here).

Ultimately the decision about how much you pay for a house will always come down to a matter of personal choice, which is of course different for everybody. Sadly broadband is one area that Phil and Kirstie have yet to focus on in their popular Channel 4 TV show, ‘Location, Location, Location‘.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks where you got your home broadband ISP router from and how you rate its quality? Vote Here.

NOTE: ISPreview.co.uk surveys are likely to receive a higher proportion of tech-savvy respondents than most, although the majority of our visitors are normal consumers (i.e. they come to this site for help and assistance with basic broadband problems / questions or when hunting for a new ISP).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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18 Responses
  1. Avatar wirelesspacman

    Not convinced by the “I wouldn’t pay extra – 48.6%”, given the “Reject it – 54.7%” with “Negotiate lower price – 33.8%”. If ish 90% would either reject a property or negotiate a lower price for naff broadband, then almost by definition they are paying extra for a house with decent broadband – they just choose not to think of it in that way.

    • Avatar spurple

      I wouldn’t pay extra, I’d simply carry on searching. You have to understand that many people, especially first time buyers or young families literally don’t have any extra to pay, having spent a few years saving enough for the mortgage and until recently when stamp duties were eliminated for first-time buyers under certain conditions, every extra you paid meant a somewhat proportional rise in stamp duty and potentially even legal fees.

      When we bought ours, we didn’t even bother arranging viewings on any houses which didn’t have at least BT’s so-called super-fast broadband as an option. As it were, we ended up in a location served both by BT and Virgin Media, so win :).

      PS. 90% of the wifi names in the neighbourhood carry the virgin media naming pattern.

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      You’re missing the point that by doing what you did you paying extra. The market simply adjusts such that houses with naff broadband end up being sold for less than those with excellent broadband – thus you are “paying more” for the latter.

    • An interesting point there about the indirect value adjustment that broadband connectivity can have on the housing market.

    • Avatar spurple

      Yes, but i’m guessing the point of the survey was more a hypothetical where if you were faced with the direct choice, you’d almost 50% would not pay extra.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      I agree with Wirelesspacman that negotiating a lower price equates to paying a premium for fast broadband.

      The size of the potential saving is the interesting bit. For example, if I could save £20k I could almost certainly pay for a fast connection, either permanently or at least by funding a leased line for several years – by which time a faster option would hopefully be available anyway.

  2. Avatar gerarda

    I suspect high speed internet connections are more important to people who use this site than the population in general.

    • Avatar Jerry

      This comment is irrelevant. Families with teenagers who stream music, watch YouTube videos/on demand services or even upload content to video sharing sites would disagree. Just because they don’t use this site doesn’t mean they don’t require a better service.

    • Avatar gerarda

      10% of the population dont have an internet connection, and nearly half of those who do have not taken the opportunity to upgrade to FTTC. A significanly higher percentage than the 8% who dont need superfast according to this survey.

  3. Avatar Rahul

    Sadly there is little to no co-ordination between house prices and fast broadband availability.

    Here where I live in Central London just next to my property building there is another building where I regularly get leaflet adverts by JLL Property Agency offering me to buy one of their flats for £1.1 million. I was quite irritated by this because the property that they have on offer is the same as mine in terms of broadband speed and it’s also on EO Line with no FTTC and no FTTP from any Altnet provider. Even the rooms and living room including the balcony is much smaller than mine!

    I spoke to them via email. I even lied to them as an experiment that “I will buy the property for that money if you can make an agreement for FTTP” as that building also suffers from wayleave looking at map for Hyperoptic for example. Anyway it seems to make no difference in their change of mindset.

    I persistently responded to their offers via email telling them I am not happy to buy a property for 1 million pounds without Fibre and also not being allowed to install an individual satellite dish as well! They still sent me leaflets from time to time offering me the flat for a million pounds. How sassy of them!

    My property we bought as leaseholders for £96,000 like over a decade ago when house prices were cheaper. Now same property market value is £750,000 here in Central London! No FTTC/P here. As we can see regardless of house prices Fibre has little overall influence in increasing the price of the property. As we can see the example in my case. It is more about location than broadband speed.

    Just for the record a property in rural areas or even town areas like York even with FTTP will still be much cheaper compared to properties such as my own in Central London without even FTTC. Property prices are decided by their location rather than their broadband speed availability.

    • Avatar Jerry

      I believe the point to be that better broadband is more appealing than properties with substandard speeds. I live in a fantastic area however I do wish that broadband was upgraded at least a little because in my opinion, digital services are far more common now than they were when ADSL was invented. Times have moved on but broadband hasn’t (well, for some anyway).

      If I were able to achieve 24Mbps I would be satisfied and any more than that would make me happy but I wouldn’t give up where I live for faster broadband.

    • Avatar Rahul

      @Jerry: The problem is that very few people would get 24Mbps via 100% pure copper unless the cabinet was very close to the property. But that is almost impossible to happen for most urban cities in London due to the high-rise buildings without either FTTC or FTTP which would naturally increase the speed to much higher than 24Mbps.

      Ultimately I think it would be naive to spend that much money on a property just to get high speed broadband. I know Fibre is important, but I wouldn’t shell-out several thousand pounds more on a property that does have fibre broadband.

      The property price shouldn’t also be artificially going up due to its high broadband speed availability otherwise you may be exploited and get a crap property that is small in size but is only costly due to Fibre. That is something people need to be very wary of!

      If you’re trying to get into the property ladder I think it’s smarter to buy on the basis of price and the quality of home that you’re buying such as larger rooms balcony/garden. Because one day if 2033 is indeed the target to achieve 100% FTTP coverage (which I personally am highly sceptical). But if and it’s a big IF that Fibre does get supported. By then property prices will even out and then the person buying the property few years back just for Fibre will have lost money naively by this emotional trap of spending extra on the property just for having Fibre!

  4. Avatar CarlT

    Wonder how many of those that stated they’d not accept less than 100Mb actually have 100Mb right now?

  5. Avatar Brian

    It would definitely put people off. Here as a rural property with a 4km line to the exchange (3km to cabinet) ADSLmax only (no ADSL2+), we do not have good broadband, despite promises made over the years. Clearly £20k would not buy us a better connection, would be more in the region of £50-60k at the very least.

  6. Avatar David

    What struck me was the contrast between the establishment bull s### lie ‘shperfastbroaxband @ 24mbp and what 70% of respondents wanted at >50Mbps. Usual establishment trick give it a fancy name and tell us all were getting world class service when they serve up crap.

  7. Avatar TheMatt

    I narrowed our house search down to two properties. A new build which was actually really good (was actually solidly built not like most) and a 10 year old home. I chose the 10 year old home and have been fixing it up ever since. The ONLY factor in this was the broadband. The new builds had no DSL, no cable, all had those ugly sky minidishes and were offering me a dongle hahaha. I work at home and needed a reliable connection. The house we bought has about 6 different possible DSL providers, and is now on G.Fast trial (the gfast pod just appeared last week but can’t order yet).

  8. Avatar Chilled-out-girl

    I live in a rural backwater in Suffolk which attracts second home owners and retirees wanting to immerse themselves in a coastal culture. Our broadband speeds are less than 10Mbs. In 2016, whilst developing some redundant farm barns, we offered to pay Openreach to upgrade our copper service to fibre. They were bringing fibre to the local village as part of their national roll-out programme and were literally laying the cable across the top of our drive. The cost of fibre for us is around £60K (our drive is a mile long and its a further two miles to the exchange in the village), however, Openreach flatly refused our request. They wouldn’t even meet us to discuss any options. The £60K would have served a hamlet of 30 houses.
    As we run an agri business as well as developing redundant farm barns we desperately need a decent service. Planning policy required energy and water saving initiatives to be deployed and, (a legacy from when BT was a nationalised company), Openreach had a statutory duty to provide each new property with a telephone line. However during the process of planning the development no body, professional or otherwise, was required to consider the value of modern broadband communication. Until someone in government grasps this, perhaps requiring developers to pay for the fibre network as part of a National planning policy regulation, I fear that the muddleheaded approach currently operating between the policy makers and the service providers will prevail.

    • Avatar Fastman

      Really

      I would be very surprised if thatr was the case about that

      did you ask your serive provide or dis you ask openreach formally in writing

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