Housing developers have been warned to ensure their properties offer good connectivity to buyers, after estate agents warned that failure to provide such services could reduce the value of a home by as much as 20 per cent.
This is according to Money Mail, which reported that buyers now consider fast connectivity to be a utility on a par with electricity and water supplies, and will often not even consider making an offer on a home where there is poor or no access.
Property expert and buying agent Henry Pryor told the publication: "Houses without a connection or with slow download speeds can be worth up to 20 per cent less. The internet is now the fourth utility after gas, electricity and sewage."
Younger buyers who have grown up accustomed to constant connectivity and those who expect to work from home, such as families, are especially likely to be put off buying properties that cannot meet their broadband demands.
As a result, more buyers now expect developers and estate agents to be open about the speeds their properties can achieve. While there is no legal requirement to supply this information, it has now become an expectation for many.
Indeed, in one case highlighted by Money Mail, a homeowner who discovered too late that their new property had no broadband connectivity at all was able to file a successful complaint with the Property Ombudsman against the estate agent.
The Ombudsman found the developer had been aware of the lack of connectivity and the estate agent had failed to ask adequate questions about the issue.
Deputy Property Ombudsman Jane Erskine stated: "We would expect an agent to indicate if the property has internet connectivity and whether this is broadband or dial-up."
Therefore, developers and estate agents that are still not paying close enough attention to the connectivity of their properties should expect to face tough questions.
According to Ofcom, there are still some 700,000 'forgotten homes' in the UK that fail to meet minimum standards for decent broadband and these homes may prove particularly unattractive to buyers in the coming years.