Pros & Cons of Buying a New Build vs Old House UK

Is it Better to Buy a New Build or an Older House?

new build vs old house

Are New Builds Better than Old Builds?

new build vs old house

When you choose to move to a new home, you are forced to make a whole variety of important decisions. The first decision you usually make when conducting a property search is where to live. However, another major factor to consider is whether to buy a new build or an old house. 

So, the big question on every house-mover’s lips is: “new build or older house?”. 

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this pressing question. In fact, whether you opt for a new build or an older house will largely be determined by your personal preference – no one else can make the decision for you. 

The best way to decide which type of property you’d rather purchase and live in is to weigh up the pros and cons of new builds compared to old houses. Looking at the pros and cons of buying a new build vs an old house can make this weighty decision much simpler. 

Some people are immediately drawn to the charm and stability of an older house, while others crave the blank canvas of a new build to make their own. Then, there are some (most) who really have no idea when it comes to new build vs old houses. 

So, to help those people out, we have put together a comprehensive guide that compares new build vs old houses. In this article, we have compiled a list of all the pros and cons of buying a new build house and compared them to the pros and cons of buying an old build.

This guide will make the choice of ‘new build or old house’ much easier. Here’s everything you need to know about buying a new build vs an old house in the UK.

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New Build vs Old House: What’s the Difference?

new build or old house

So, what’s the difference between a new build home and an old build house?

A new build house is one that has never been lived in before, whereas an old build house is one that has had at least one owner. 

Although most modern homes tend to be referred to as ‘new builds’, if they have previously been lived in, they would technically be classed as an existing home.

Is it Better to Buy a New Build Home or an Older House?

new build vs older house

Now you know what a new build home actually is, you might be wondering, “Should I buy a new build?”. 

Whether it’s better to buy a new build home or an older house will largely depend on your own personal needs and what you’re looking for from your next property. 

There are various pros and cons to both new builds and older houses, and you should consider each and every one against your own wants and needs. 

New Build or Old House for First Time Buyers?

What about for first time buyers

If you’re purchasing your very first home, the decision of whether to buy a new build home or an older house might be even trickier.

Being totally new to the house-buying process can be incredibly daunting, and the choice of a new build vs old house doesn’t make it any less stressful. 

As with experienced home-buyers, there are a number of pros and cons of new build and old build homes to consider before making the decision. 

Ultimately, everyone will have their own reasons for choosing either a new build or older house when purchasing their first home – it’s just about finding what’s right for you!

However, knowing what you want can be difficult as a first time buyer. You’ve never owned a property before and, maybe you’ve never lived away from your parents. So, determining what you want and need from a property can seem impossible. 

Therefore, it’s essential that you make sure to visit examples of both new build and old build homes to get a better idea. You should also make sure to ask all the relevant questions when buying a new build.

After reading through our guide to the pros and cons of buying a new build vs old build home, you should have a clearer vision of which type of property is right for you. 

So, let’s get started…

Pros & Cons of Buying an Old House

pros and cons buying new build

Old House Pros

  • – More characterful – if character and history is important to you, from fireplaces and parquet flooring to large sash windows, then old builds offer both. New builds simply can’t match up when it comes to original features.
  • – Bigger – older houses tend to offer more internal and external space compared to new builds. So, if you’re looking for big bedrooms, a large garden or high ceilings, you may be better off with a period home.
  • – Issues are visible – while both new builds and old homes can have their problems, issues are more visible with older properties. This means you can have a survey done and make sure everything is in order structurally, or pull out if not.
  • – You can add value – it is usually harder to add value to a new build property, as they tend to be built for a specific kind of buyer. With an older house, you could find untapped potential, such as a kitchen extension or a loft conversion, to add value.
  • – Sense of Community – most older houses are situated within established neighbourhoods with a good sense of community. It’s also more likely that there will be more established nearby amenities, such as restaurants and shops.
  • – Making an offer – when making an offer on an older property, you know exactly what you’re getting. But, if you buy a new build off-plan, you might not know the quality of the end product until after you’ve put an offer in.
  • – Negotiating power – buying an existing property means that the purchase price is negotiable between buyer and seller. And, if problems arise from the survey, it gives first time buyers more space to negotiate. 

Old House Cons

  • – Long chains – when buying an older property, it’s very possible that you will get caught in a long sales chain. This not only makes the process more stressful but makes it more likely that the purchase falls through.

  • – High maintenance – older homes have been around for much longer and have had more owners than newer homes. This often means that more maintenance is required to keep them structurally sound and looking good.

  • – Less energy efficient – old builds might not meet more modern standards of energy efficiency, with thinner walls, windows and less insulation. As a result, your energy bills might be higher in an old house vs a new build.

  • – Renovation costs – unlike new builds, older homes don’t provide a blank canvas to make your own. Therefore, they’re less suited to your specific tastes. This could mean you have to spend more to make it work for you.

  • – Wear and tear – older houses have been lived in multiple times over and so may have more wear and tear from people moving in and out. This might also require additional spending. 

Tips for Buying an Old House

Having now considered the pros and cons of buying an old build property, here are some of our top tips when it comes to purchasing an older house: 

  1. Have a survey – a property survey is a must when buying an older home given that they tend to have more structural issues. A survey will flag up any problems with the house before you commit to buying it, such as damp, knotweed etc.

  2. Ask plenty of questions – try to find out as much about the property as possible before you commit to buying it. For example, ask the estate agent about the seller’s reasons for putting it on the market and spend time in the area to make sure it’s the right place for you. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Build House

new build vs old house

New Build Pros

  • – More energy efficient – modern building techniques and standards mean that new build homes are usually much better insulated than old builds, with advanced double glazing and a modern, energy efficient heating system. Therefore, your energy bills are likely to be lower in a new build home.

  • – Builder’s warranty – new build properties come with a developer’s warranty, which usually lasts for 10 years. This means that if anything goes wrong with your home in that time, the builder has to fix it.

  • – Personalisation – new builds not only offer more space for personalisation, but if you purchase off-plan, you can often have a say in the style of things like carpets, flooring, kitchens and bathrooms.

  • – No chain – the definition of a new build is that it has no existing or previous owner. So, even if you have a property to sell, your chain ends with you, which means there’s less chance of your transaction falling through.

  • – Home buying schemes – some government schemes, like First Homes and Help to Buy are only available on new build homes. That makes new builds great options for first time buyers who need a hand getting on the property ladder.

  • – New build incentives – some developers will throw in incentives when trying to sell a new build property. For example, covering your stamp duty or upgrading your fixtures and fittings.

  • – Newer – it might sound obvious, but new builds are ‘new’. They’ve never been lived in which means everything is brand new and unused. This also means new builds are less likely to need as much maintenance compared to an older home.

  • – A new community – moving into an already-established neighbourhood might not appeal to some, especially first time buyers. You might be more excited by a new home on a new estate, with other people who are just moving into the area. 

New Build Cons

  • – Smaller – compared to older homes, particularly period properties, new build rooms are often smaller. So, if you need a lot of internal space, a new build might not be the best choice. 

  • – Less space – new builds tend to be a little ‘crammed’ onto new developments, so that builders can maximise on their returns. This often means that they’re overlooked or offer little parking space.

  • – More expensive – because new builds are brand new, developers often charge a premium. However, once you move in, that premium disappears as the property is no longer considered ‘new’. This can mean that a new build property will drop in value quicker than older properties.

  • – Quality – while new builds often use more modern building techniques than older houses, there are almost always issues when you move in. It can be something as small as a door not shutting properly or a minor leak. But, undertaking a snagging survey can help you solve these problems before moving in.

  • – Delays – the process of buying a house can be long and drawn out at the best of times, but it can be even longer with new builds if the building’s not finished on time. In turn, this can have a knock-on effect on your mortgage offer, or if you’re selling your existing home. 

Tips for Buying a New Build House

If you decide the pros of buying a new build home outweigh the cons, then you might be interested in hearing our top tips for buying a new build property:

  1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate – just because a property is brand new, doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate on its price. Even if your developer won’t budge on the purchase price, they might offer another incentive to convince you to purchase.


  2. Know exactly what you’re getting – if you’re purchasing a new build off-plan, you won’t be able to view it before committing to the purchase. Therefore, it’s important to be clear with your developer on exactly what things will look like and exactly what is included in the purchase price. 

What is the Price of a New Build vs an Old House?

new build vs old house

Another significant factor that you should consider when weighing up the pros and cons of buying a new build vs an old house is cost. 

The average premium paid to purchase a new build property compared to the price of an older house in Britain is 29%, with the average price of a new build property in the UK being £323,667.

So, there is quite a significant price difference when it comes to new builds vs older homes, and this is worth considering when comparing the two. 

It’s also important to take into account the fact that it is more common for new builds to lose value over the longer term. 

However, period properties can also command a premium, with research from OpenBrix revealing that Georgian homes can often cost £100,000 more than the average UK property price. Meanwhile, Victorian and Edwardian properties fetch 20% more than the UK average house price.

Make sure you check out the hidden costs of buying a new build house before making any commitment. 

New Houses vs Old Houses: Which are Better?

Are you moving home and trying to choose between a new build and an old build home? If so, it’s essential that you properly weigh up the pros and cons of buying a new build house compared to an older house. 

In this article, we’ve outlined all the advantages and disadvantages of both new build and old build homes in order to help make your decision easier. 

Do you want personalisation, no chain and help to get on the ladder? If that answer is yes, then a new build is likely the best option for you. 

Alternatively, are you looking for character, space and an established community? If so, you might be better opting for an existing property. 

Whichever you eventually decide on – new build or old build – make sure you change your address with all the relevant institutions and providers before moving! Take a look at our change of address checklist to see who you need to notify.


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