Property Tips

New Build vs Old Build: What's Right For You?

April 18, 2024 1 minute
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Buying a new house but not sure what to go for? There are plenty of benefits to both new-build properties and older homes, depending on your personal preference and what you’re looking for. Whether you’re just starting your home-buying journey or you’re deep into your search, here’s the differences between new-build homes versus old-build homes.

Why buy a New-Build?

New-build homes have been a popular option with homebuyers for decades but particularly in the current market. As developers and local authorities increasingly drive supply to meet rising demand, there’s never been more options available in top locations:

1. You can make a new-build your own

One of the major benefits of a new-build home is that, in most cases, you’ll have the opportunity to truly make it your own.

Many developers work on an ‘off-plan’ basis, allowing you to choose the rough layout and determine the materials or fittings used.

Aside from being ‘ready-made’ with no need for extra decorating, this process allows you to see out your vision and truly create the home of your dreams from the start.

2. Almost guaranteed great location

Developers aren’t going to build in undesirable locations. It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you’re looking for a home in a family-friendly place, a new-build will facilitate that.

Many developers are looking to create a community around their developments, which is why they build near fantastic amenities such as green spaces, schools, supermarkets and family tourist destinations.

In some cases - particularly in larger projects - developers actually directly implement these amenities into the  development itself.

3. Security and sustainability

Due to modern building practices, new-build homes are largely designed to be more energy-efficient and much safer than older homes.

Aside from the peace of mind that security offers, a focus on sustainability also generally means that homeowners can save money on bills.

According to research by HBF, homeowners that purchase a new-build have the opportunity to save around £2,500 a year on energy bills.

Some of the most common features found in a new-build property are exceptional insulation, efficient heating systems, low energy lightbulbs and window glazing - all of which can help with reducing energy consumption.

4. No need to deal with a chain

One thing that many people forget when buying a new home is the potential of being stuck in a property chain. 

When you buy directly from a developer, there’s no risk of that happening, meaning you have a much less stressful experience. 

This also vastly improves the time it takes to buy a property, which is useful if you’re relying on a quick turnaround.

5. You can get financial support

When you buy a new-build home, there’s generally more opportunities to receive financial support through schemes such as Shared Ownership.

Likewise, some housebuilders tend to offer benefits such as: 

  • Paying stamp duty
  • Free fixtures, fittings, landscaping or appliances
  • Support selling existing properties
  • Part-exchange deals

It’s always worth speaking to the developer or housebuilder directly, as they may offer incentives for buying.

Why Buy an Old Build?

‘Old-build’ homes - more commonly recognised as existing homes - are often chosen because they have original or unique features that you might not find in a new-build. Depending on what you’re looking for in your home, you may choose an ‘old-build’ for the following benefits:

1. You’re able to track historic value

It’s much easier to see how an older property’s value has changed over time using online data, which can then inform your purchasing decision.

Likewise, you can also research the entire area to determine how much the property might rise in value going forward.

This is much harder to do with a new-build property, especially since developments are often built outside of existing suburbs.

2. They’re filled with character

While many people like the modern design that a new-build offers, they don’t usually have the unique features that you might find in an existing property with Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian motifs.

If you’re more interested in a property that has an unusual layout, an uncommon design or features such as a fireplace or a sash window, you’ll want to go with an ‘old-build’ property.

3. They’re usually bigger

With an older property it’s more likely you’ll have more space throughout the property - particularly in terms of gardens.

If you’re looking for more space - or features such as tall ceilings / double height windows - it’s worth shopping around the market to find an older property that’s right for you. 

4. It’s easier to add value

It’s significantly easier to make alterations to an older property, mostly because there’s more space and opportunity. 

New build properties tend to have very similar layouts and are built with modern sensibilities in mind, whereas existing properties were built for different purposes and so adding an extension or converting a room can add huge value.

In some cases, you may want to buy an older property as it’s more affordable and then renovate to support more eco-friendly building practices.

5. Surveying avoids surprises

Many people don’t buy old properties as they’re worried about negative structural surprises or hidden quirks.

Fortunately, surveying an older home can spot these problems and ensure everything is sound with the build, which may even support a better price.


Chloe is a member of the Platform Home Ownership Marketing Team. Bringing you the newest trends shaping the property market, insightful tips on shared ownership, and exciting updates on Platform Home Ownership.