Broadband speed is now the ‘fourth utility’ behind water, gas and electricity.

As more people use the internet for daily tasks from food shopping to watching TV, a quick and reliable broadband connection is moving higher up on buyer’s wish lists. Fiona Stewart, Head of Marketing at Strutt & Parker, says that because of this, location correlating to internet speed is now more important than ever for today’s buyers.

“We have a number of clients who move out to the country or who want to buy second properties in the country with the increasing tendency to work from home. Our research has shown that access to broadband is a vital part of the plan. Lack of broadband can be a deal breaker on which location to choose when looking.”

Research from Rightmove has also indicated that residential property sales now depend more on broadband speeds rather than traditional factors such as the quality of local schools and transport links. The potential impact of this can leave a property worth up to 20% less if the broadband connection is substandard. Rightmove has even added a broadband speed checker to each one of its property listings, giving property hunters a speedometer-style display to show typical speeds. Rightmove’s Bernard Phillips said broadband had become “ingrained” in people’s lives and an “important factor” when choosing a home.

Fiona continues: “Across the business, we are seeing more and more applicants looking for homes on their tablets and smartphones who are constantly on the go. Direct enquiries from buyers about connection speeds in certain areas are on the up. Without doubt, internet connectivity has never been more of a necessity than it is today and will continue to be as the next generation of buyers pushes through.”

The Government’s plan to roll-out superfast broadband to cover 95% of the UK has been delayed until 2017. They have promised speeds of up to 30mbps, which is at present unavailable to a quarter of the country.