Smart home technology has been slower to catch on in Canada than in the U.S., but the COVID-19 pandemic may have illuminated for some condominium residents the benefits of controlling their homes remotely.
“I think even before the pandemic there was growing need in the market for smart home technology, and the one thing we’ve seen through pandemic is an increase of online shopping,” said Alison O’Neill, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Adi Developments. “Lots of deliveries are taking place and smart home technology will help residents and the building’s concierge with the distribution of packages into the building.”
Adi Developments partnered with SmartONE Solutions to develop Adi Home+ that abets convenience for residents in Adi’s projects through keyless entry, a security monitoring system for building and amenity access, energy use tracking, and participating in a car share program.
“Keyless entry for the suites has been a major benefit. If there’s a cleaning person or a dog walker you have coming in, you can arrange for them to come when you’re not home,” said O’Neill. “It limits exposure and promotes social distancing by giving them a code for the door so they can let themselves in.”
In major cities where a large portion of condos are rented out to young professionals in their 20s and 30s—a demographic that demands convenience—smart home technology could help fill vacancies, especially when there’s a supply glut like the one caused by the pandemic.
“I would not say that it helps landlords get higher rents, but it definitely helps reduce the number of days a listing is on the market,” said Alex Balikoev, senior vice president of sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “These days, tenants have greater choice in the Toronto condo market, and smart home technology helps the units stand out. Ten York by Tridel is one of them because it’s a very high-tech building.”
Adi Developments included Adi Home+ in a Burlington-based project, Valera, and intends to include it in a future project at King and Portlands Sts. in Toronto. O’Neill added that, generally, amenities help condos stand out from each other, and that smart home technology is arguably the most innovative amenity to be found in condo developments.
Paul D’Abruzzo, a sales agent and investor with Rock Star Real Estate, says the technology carries the most value in the luxury segment of the housing market.
“In my experience, smart home technology is icing on the cake in the luxury rental market,” he said. “For the starter home apartment market, I don’t see value in adding those things unless there is some kind of cost efficiency built in for the landlord.”
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