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Staying Connected Throughout the House

Builder study reflects remodeling opportunities.

July 19, 2012 By Angela Titone, Senior Manager, CEA Research Library

When I was a teenager, I preferred using the basement bathroom, which we called “the boys bathroom” because my brothers had rigged up stereo speakers. You could listen to music while brushing your teeth and taking a shower.

Today, consumers want to expand that basic concept by adding new technologies to all rooms of their homes, whether it’s in the bathroom, the bedroom, living room or kitchen.

CEA’s 10th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study shows consumer demand for home technology is increasing. The study, in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center, gathered data through the Annual Builder Practices Survey and includes new construction information from U.S. homebuilders.

The results suggest the market for home tech is growing as the housing market regains its footing. People are used to being connected in the car and at the workplace. They want to access technology in the home whenever and wherever they want.

Americans bought more new homes in May than they had in any month since April 2010, according to the Commerce Department. Home builders are offering clients everything from intercom systems to security to the physical infrastructure. (See chart.)

Of the home technologies installed by builders, there were gains in structured wiring, energy management solutions and home automation. Entertainment solutions, such as multi-room audio (23 percent) and home theater (29 percent), also performed well last year.
The study has always looked at new construction, but this was the first time it looked at remodeling. Some 57 percent of builders said they did at least one remodeling job in the past five years and in the past 12 months. The aftermarket opportunities thrive as one in five builders cite remodeling has generated more revenue than new home building in the past 12 months.

In the new construction and remodeling categories, a December survey by Better Homes and Gardens shows consumers are spending more time planning design changes for the home (up to 38 percent from 33 percent the year prior), and they are shopping around for more deals and bargains.

I’m not the do-it-yourself techie person my brothers are; I have a battery-powered radio in the bath. But now that it’s time to remodel this small, outdated bathroom,

I’m starting to think bigger. Do I need built-in speakers, a TV or perhaps a docking/charging station for my cellphone?


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