energy effecient appliancesThe U.S. housing industry has been in a slump since hitting a peak in 2005, but there have been signs of real recovery recently, and installed home technology is helping home builders weather the downturn. Installing energy/automation management and home entertainment systems and structured wiring, both in new and existing homes, has been enabling home builders to differentiate their product and service portfolios, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and such installations have been on the rise.

Installed home technology is now firmly embedded in builders’ product and service portfolios, the CEA found in producing its tenth annual “State of the Builder Technology Market Study.” Installations are increasing all installed home technology types, with customers once again spending more on energy efficiency and entertainment technology.

Installed in 63% of new homes in 2011 vs. 45% in 2010, structured wiring installations experienced the biggest gains. With consumers much more conscious of home energy costs, automated lighting controls (installed in 12% of home vs. 7% in 2010) and home automation (installed in 10% of new homes in 2011 vs. 5% in 2010) reached all-time highs.

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Home entertainment technology installations also showed strong gains last year. Multi-room audio was installed in 23% of new homes, while home theater systems were installed in 29%, as both technologies rebounded strongly from hitting recession-period lows, according to CEA’s report.

“This year’s study confirms CEA’s long-held belief and prediction that home technology would make a positive contribution to the inevitable housing market recovery as home buyers’ digital lifestyles and desires for energy efficiency factor into purchasing decisions,” commented Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis.

“For example, home automation and lighting controls tap into buyers’ rising concerns regarding energy costs, while a focus on home theater and multi-room audio demonstrate that builders can meet the growing homeowners’ demands to access entertainment anywhere in the home.”

Looking for ways to weather the downturn, 57% of builders have been relying more on remodeling existing homes as opposed to building new homes. “Industry players should not lose their focus on aftermarket opportunities, as one in five builders [say] remodeling has generated more revenue than new home building in the past 12 months,” CEA writes.

Designed and formulated by CEA Market Research and carried out between Dec. 13, 2011 and Jan. 9, 2012, CEA’s “10th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study” was conducted in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center. The full report is available to CEA members and non-members via the CEA Store.

Image courtesy of flickr user LGEPR.

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One thought on “Report: Home Automation Reaches All Time High in New Homes

  1. I don't doubt that Home Automation Installations have reached a new high but see the market as still stuck in a high-end niche unless Home Automation is defined very broadly to include any one product instead of the integration of systems.

    The “smart” home systems that are most likely automated today include lights, thermostats & home appliances; television, video & music systems; security alarms & monitoring systems; and home health care monitors, alarms & communication devices. But it takes a skilled technician to integrate these systems into a cohesive whole and program their operation.

    Home Automation and the “Smart Home” concept have been around for some 40 years but never were able to cross the chasm from an industry niche of professional installation in high-end custom homes to mass market consumers. One reason is that any new device or change of behavior required the technician to come out and reprogram the house rules again.

    A truly Smart home could address this problem with an awareness of its surroundings from various sensors for light, temperature, sound, smells (smoke or CO2), motion, etc. With artificial intelligence, it could then learn occupant behavior and preferences and adapt automatically or upon command (by voice, touch, button or gesture interface). And a Smart home could communicate in ways occupants prefer, on a device they have at the time. But there are still many problems with even that vision. See http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2012/04/smart-homes/.

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