Meritage Homes will add a suite of smart-home features to all homes it builds after July 5, according to the company.
The Wi-Fi-enabled M.Connected Home Automation Suite includes lighting, video doorbells, thermostats and smart door locks. Every home will have a central location to store the Wi-Fi modem and router.
The system is expected to be compatible with smart home control devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
Meritage joins a growing list of builders that are including smart home technology as part of their standard feature packages. Bellevue, WA-based Quadrant Homes announced in June that it, too, would make some smart-home features standard. Among them are some of the same as Meritage will offer: garage door openers, front door locks and doorbells.
Tri Pointe Group, Brookfield Residential, Lennar, KB Home and R&F Properties are also among the builders that are responding to consumer demand for smart-home features. Of particular interest is voice control. Seventy-two percent of Americans who already have smart-home products want voice-control functionality, while 48% already have it, according to a Coldwell Banker report. Seventy-four percent of millennials and 79% of Gen-Xers want voice control, compared to 63% of baby boomers.
Internet-connected products and the devices used to manage them are becoming more of a reality for typical buyers, especially as smartphone use continues to increase. The Consumer Technology Association reported that 80% of U.S homes have at least one smartphone owner. Another CTA report revealed that 30% of builders who pre-wired their homes for security systems or entertainment saw their revenues increase — though Wi-Fi-only homes could become more popular.
Builders who market smart homes to younger buyers stand to see returns on their investment. A December 2016 report from Wakefield Research and Schlage showed that millennials would be willing to pay about 20% more for a home equipped with smart technology than would other generations.