Broadband is a growing force in the property market header image

There's a lot of things that need to be considered when buying a property and broadband is fast becoming one of them.

Earlier this month, research from the Imperial College Business School and the London School of Economics and Political Science revealed the connection speed available in a home has a direct impact on its value. This was the latest in a line of reports that show the web is becoming a powerful force in the property market.

The fourth utility

According to research from Go Compare, broadband is now considered by many people to be the "fourth utility" behind gas, electricity and water. Naturally, this means a good level of connectivity is a key consideration for a lot of house hunters and the organisation found 54 per cent of people see it as a top priority when choosing a new home.

Overall, broadband was ranked as the sixth most important factor when looking for a place to live, coming ahead of things such as local shops and amenities, friendly neighbours and a garage. This research makes it clear that internet access is now seen as a key part of day-to-day life rather than simply an optional extra.

A valuable asset

With broadband seen as such an important factor for house hunters, it's no surprise that the quality of a home's connection has a major bearing on its value. According to Rightmove, a slow and unreliable level of internet access can knock as much as 20 per cent off a property's price.

Speaking earlier this year, Bernard Phillips - head of consumer platforms at the property search website - stated: "Broadband has become ingrained in people's lives and is an important factor when choosing a home."

Indeed, Rightmove now sees broadband information as so important to house hunters that it has added a permanent feature to its website that allows people to check the average connection speed when they view a home on the site.

Left on the market

The impact a lack of connectivity can have on a property's value was highlighted earlier this year by the Daily Mail. A report from the newspaper revealed a house located in the rural village of Gwytherin, Wales has been stuck on the market for ten years due to the poor quality of its broadband service.

Despite being located in a picturesque area and having the asking price lowered, the property was stuck on the market, with the fact it could only receive download speeds of two Mbps believed to be a major factor behind this.

It tends to be rural homes that are hit hardest by the lack of connectivity, as a good broadband service can be hard to come by in these locations. Last year, an estate agent told the Telegraph he was actively advising customers to avoid buying properties with a poor connection.

Frank Speir, director at Prime Purchase, stated: "Slow broadband speeds are having a definite effect on the market. It's becoming a much bigger issue. We are talking about buyers moving out of London that want the flexibility to be able to work from home one day a week or need to run a business and they require a fast connection for that."

The way people now see broadband and its impact on the housing market has perhaps been most accurately summarised by Conservative peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe. Speaking to the Daily Mail in May, she stated: "Broadband and mobile coverage have become essential utilities, like water or power. Without coverage it is like living in the old world without a post box or hot water."