A new YouGov survey of 2,130 UK adults, which was commissioned by O2 (VMO2), has claimed that 70% of house-hunters would be prepared to walk away from a dream home if the local mobile signal wasn’t up to par, while 31% would pay more for a property with a good signal and 20% are prepared to pay up to £10,000 more!
The survey claims that this reflects a shift in attitudes, which stems from the COVID-19 related rise in remote (or home) working, particularly given that mobile phones are much more popular these days than fixed line phone services. Likewise, when it comes to renters, some 25% of those would also increase their monthly payment for a property with “good connectivity.”
On that front, good broadband connectivity was also found to be crucial, with 60% of house-hunters saying that the strength of both their mobile and broadband network would be a top consideration when looking at properties to buy or rent – ranking broadband higher than good transport links.
However, the need for outdoor space (53%) and proximity to friends and family (42%) remain the two other top considerations, followed by good walking routes (40%). House-hunting criteria has changed in other ways, too. Proximity to the workplace has become less important to people, with 26% rating this as an important factor in deciding where to live, versus 33% pre-pandemic.
Finally, whilst 52% of Brits previously had a 30-minute commute, now only 37% would like to live this close. Over a third (35%) would now be willing to live up to an hour away from their office, and 19% are prepared to tackle a two-hour commute. Likewise, nearly a fifth (19%) of respondents said they want to move to seaside towns now that remote working is the norm and 10% would choose to move to the countryside, while a similar number would like to move to a village.
Jeanie York, CTO of VMO2, said: “The past year has taught us the importance of staying connected, so we are investing more in our network in 2021 than ever before. We’ve responded to the rise in nomadic working and the need for strong connectivity within the home to enable this trend to continue. We know our customers are factoring connectivity into major decisions regarding their home and work life, so as the mobile network voted best for mobile reliability and coverage, we want to help make things easier for everyone as we upgrade the UK.
We’re proud to have delivered a 4G boost in over thirty thousand postcodes this year alone, and are committed to bringing together next-generation gigabit broadband and 5G services, as we expand our network reach across the country.”
Interestingly, the survey’s focus on mobile signals somewhat overlooks that fact that Femtocell based indoor mobile signal boosters (e.g. O2’s BoostBox) and Wi-Fi Calling make some of these issues (the indoor ones) a relatively easy thing to fix (broadband connectivity allowing), without necessarily needing to shell out £10k extra for a house. But that would perhaps get in the way of the vested interests in this survey, thus they seem to have ignored it.
Furthermore, most of the currently available evidence for the impact of broadband speed and mobile signal quality on house prices remains fairly anecdotal. We know they can be key elements for the majority of people, but what they will tolerate in terms of connection speed or signal vs house price vs other factors can vary. mobile signal
In the end, 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.