Poor broadband connection can devalue your house by 20 per cent

A sluggish Internet connection can knock up to 20 per cent off the value of a house – or such is the latest claim coming from a “property expert” (at least it’s not Phil Spencer or Kirstie Allsop, anyway).

This story stems from a recent move by property website Rightmove, which has added the facility to check a postcode’s broadband speed from within property listings. A study Rightmove conducted, surveying 3,000 users, found that broadband speed was ranked more highly than transport links or nearby schools in terms of the level of importance to the buyer.

And Rightmove’s new broadband info is attracting quite some attention, accruing around 400,000 page views a month, the site claims.

The Telegraph picked up on this in a report today, citing a property expert from Auntie Beeb, Henry Pryor, who said that broadband was now viewed as a “fourth utility” (after gas, electricity and water). And he’s probably on the mark there.

As to where the 20 per cent figure comes in, Pryor said: “I was involved with a survey that looked at the impact of broadband speed on people looking to buy or rent and the potential impact on prices and we found a home without at least a standard broadband connection could be worth up to 20 per cent less than a comparable property.”

Some unfortunate folks at the far reaches of an exchange, or in remote rural areas – or indeed both – can struggle to get any sort of speed on their broadband at all, or worse still, connectivity is intermittent. That can obviously make even web surfing a nightmare, let alone trying to stream a movie or more demanding activities.

We can well believe that a dodgy Internet connection is off-putting, as more folks look to work from home and so forth. As Pryor notes: “A property needs 21st century connectivity. More people are making decisions to work from home fulltime or even part of the time. More demanding buyers now want fibre-optic superfast speeds for things like streaming entertainment and managing a host of equipment that relies on this.”

A 20 per cent drop, of course, is the extreme case – as Pryor said of the survey, the drop was “up to” 20 per cent. But the broadband gap between the fibre “haves” and the rural “have-nots” is only going to increase while the government drags its heels.

The timescale of the government’s deployment of super-fast (well, up to 30Mbps) broadband to 95 per cent of the UK has been pushed back to 2017, though it is still close to the target of 90 per cent by 2015 (with 88 per cent expected to be reached by the end of this year). Close, however, for those stuck in the broadband backwaters of the UK, isn’t likely to be good enough.

For more on this topic, see our piece on Lord Inglewood and why the government must speed up the superfast broadband rollout before improving it.