A NEW JOINT STUDY ON HOME TECHNOLOGY by Parks Associates and Builder finds that 56 percent of home builders look for new products to set them apart from the competition. Leading devices include home controls, security systems, central vacuums, and entertainment systems.

According to the study, “2006 Builder Insights”—based on more than 1,000 responses—more than 50 percent of builders offer electronics for home theaters and installed them in 23 percent of the homes they sold in 2005. Whole-house control systems are offered by 35 percent of builders and were installed in about 11 percent of the homes they sold in 2005.

“What really surprised us is that many more builders than we thought are already offering consumer electronics,” says Bill Ablondi, Parks Associates' director of home systems research.

Other report highlights:

  • Twenty-eight percent of builders have a dedicated resource within the company responsible for evaluating technology products. Among builders with 250 or more home starts, nearly 40 percent have such a person on staff.
  • Thirty-one percent rated a room dedicated to audio/video highly likely to positively influence the sale of a home, while only 20 percent felt that a separate playroom for children would sell a home.
  • Sixty-six percent offered structured wiring, while 43 percent installed structured wiring in the homes they built in 2005.
  • Where can builders improve? Just 16 percent highlight digital home products in model homes, and 18 percent let home-tech integrators meet with home buyers in model homes. Also, only 8 percent offer to sell home technology following the sale of the home.