Urban real estate investors take note: FTTH has come of age in the multi-dwelling unit marketplace. (MDU). When looking for new homes, many more renters and owners are now considering FTTH a necessity.
Several studies have established that fiber raises the value of single family homes by $5,000 - $6,000 on a home valued at $300,000. A July 2014 survey, commissioned by Broadband Communities magazine and conducted by RVA LLC indicates that similar results influence MDUs. Clearly, access to FTTH adds measurable value to real estate.
The study examined numerous factors related to knowledge, use, satisfaction, and adoption of FTTH related to MDUs. RVA broke down the results by age, economics, and education attained. While some results were surprising, others were predictable. For example, level of education attained is not necessarily consistent with knowledge of the benefits of FTTH. The study reflects that those with a graduate degree did not have the same appreciation for the technology as those with some college less than a four-year degree.
The level of satisfaction when comparing FTTH to cable, DSL, wireless, and satellite options was not surprising. Of course, fiber-to-the-home far out performed any other technology.
The survey also found that access to broadband has become as important as other utilities:
Overall, survey respondents indicated that broadband was, indeed, their top amenity. This finding confirms other recent polling and provides finer-grained details: For MDU unit owners, access to good broadband is now the top amenity by a large margin. Renters rated broadband second in terms of amenity importance, close behind “in-unit washer/dryer.” Broadband was valued highly in all types of buildings but especially in student housing and in luxury buildings.
FTTH can influence sale value by 3 percent and rental value by 8 percent. The additional revenue to the building owner far outweighs the initial investment:
For an MDU building owner, outfitting an apartment with FTTH would yield $972 more annual rental revenue and $209 more revenue from lower vacancy rates, the survey shows. Having FTTH at the site would also result in a $120 savings in marketing, administration and maintenance stemming from 31 percent lower churn and more word-of-mouth advertising, according to the survey.
In a May 2014 American Planning Association report, Investing in Place [PDF], researchers asked Millenials, Boomers, and Gen Xers to rank their priorities for urban landscapes:
When asked about high priorities for metro areas, Active Boomers cited high-speed Internet access and affordable housing equally at 65 percent each, which was second only to safe streets (79 percent). Millennials ranked internet service third with 58 percent; safe streets cited first with 76 percent and affordable housing cited second with 71 percent. Generation Xers also ranked Internet service third with 51 percent; safe streets was first (69 percent) and affordable housing was second (57 percent).
These same three metro features also were cited in the same order by three of the four different types of communities — urban, suburban, and small town — and each of the four regions.
Fiber it quickly becoming on par with considerations of floor plan, natural light, and location. From the Broadband Communities survey:
MDU developers and managers should be marketing broadband, especially FTTH broadband, more aggressively. This is especially true given that broadband is the only amenity (in the list respondents used) that cannot be seen with the naked eye.