Posted on 17th March 2017

Is New Build Right for You?

Martin Williamson, Director & Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director & Head of Residential Property

It’s hard to ignore the new homes that seem to be being built left, right and centre across our region. Of course this is great news for some people. Many new housing developments come with a range of homes to suit all pockets, from the first time buyer, through to the older couple looking for a home to retire in, and in many situations you might have the opportunity to influence the design of your new home.

But for many, these new homes lack the space and character that comes with older properties; some people long for a sense of individuality. For them, one of the joys of living in an older house is finding a mark left by a former occupier, providing them with a sense of legacy and the knowledge that they are just one in a long line of people to make their lives in the property and, when they leave, they will pass on their home to someone else to love and live in.

So, which is right for you?

There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration when deciding between a new build and an older property – floor space, energy efficiency, ongoing maintenance costs, and ease of purchase all play an important role.

Unless you’re buying a larger, purpose built home, you are unlikely to find a new build with the same floor space as an older property with the same number of bedrooms. This means that in all likelihood, the rooms themselves will be smaller, which is particularly important for growing families and people bringing large furniture from their last residence. You may find yourself running out of space very quickly.

However, when it comes to running costs, new builds win hands down. Even if an older property has undergone an extensive refurbishment, it will struggle to compete with the energy efficiency of contemporary construction techniques and materials. Similarly, modern building regulations mean that each new build is constructed to a much higher specification than years gone by and come with a 10-year structural warranty, meaning it’s less likely they will need the levels of maintenance usually associated with older homes.

The final point to consider is your purchasing power. New homes often come with a premium and may cost more than an older property with a comparable number of bedrooms. For first time buyers this can be offset by the fact that most developers offer the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme, which only requires a 5% deposit. With older homes you usually need to find a higher deposit and potentially deal with other issues such as chains, surveys and the sellers changing their minds at the last minute.

Ultimately making the decision between buying a new or older property comes down to deciding what you want from the home, and balancing those desires against the costs, both financial and emotional.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.