By: Neil Strother
Renters are often overlooked in the conversation about smart home technologies since market stakeholders place an emphasis on homeowners. However, the tendency to overlook the rental segment is changing.
For instance, smart home technology provider SmartRent just raised $60 million in a new funding round. With the added funding, Scottsdale, Arizona-based SmartRent intends to launch new products and expand internationally as it continues to see increasing demand. In 2019, the company reported 600% year-over-year growth. Despite the coronavirus outbreak preventing installations in multifamily dwellings for several months, the company still expects to grow in 2020, according to its CEO.
Similarly, developers of rental properties in southeast Florida have smart home technology on their roadmaps. “We are including smart home technology in our new buildings that will allow our maintenance teams to monitor things like HVAC performance and respond to problems, with limited physical interaction with the resident,” said CEO Casey Cummings of Ram Real Estate.
Beyond multifamily rental properties, participants in the single-family rental market have witnessed strong growth in recent years and they should pay attention to smart home technologies as well. For instance, the single-family rental industry experienced rapid growth in the last decade, surging 30% at one point compared with 15% for multifamily rentals, according to information on the National Rental Home Council site.
Rental Housing Stakeholders Should Embrace Smart Technology Now
The trend is clear. More renters are demanding smarter technology, and landlords need to meet this demand or they risk losing share to competitors, according to experts like Manjula Perera, vice president of technology at Progress Residential and chair of the National Rental Home Council’s Technology Committee. “It is no longer a question of whether the ROI justifies the expense; rather it is a matter of with whom to partner and when is the best time to implement,” Perera said in an interview. “Smart home technology will allow us to serve our customers better while increasing efficiency of energy and labor and reducing long-term costs of operations.”
Rental housing has taken longer to catch up to the level of homeowner adoption of smart home technology, but the gap has narrowed considerably. The benefits are better understood by renters, property owners, and landlords, and smart home product prices are now more affordable, lowering one of the key barriers to wider adoption. For these reasons, the adoption of smart home solutions in the rental market is likely to grow steadily in the coming years alongside growth in the homeowner market. For more details of how smart home trends are evolving, see Guidehouse Insights’ report, The Smart Home Overview, or check out my recent blog.