period property

Brits still prefer period properties – can new-builds win us over?

Finding a home with bags of character is still a top priority for the majority of UK homebuyer hopefuls, but could they be overlooking all the added benefits that come with investing in a new-build?

Sales of new-builds are soaring with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government recording a 28.2% increase in new-build purchases between April 2017 and April 2018, while last year saw a 16% rise in the number of new properties being constructed compared to the previous year.

But still, when a recent survey was conducted by, an overwhelming 82% of respondents said that, given the choice, they would rather invest in a period home than a brand new one.

What do period properties have that new-builds don’t?

Having original features was the reason for 51% of people preferring a period home over a new-build, with original windows a favourite among 42% of respondents, feature fireplaces being chosen by 40%, and real wooden floors or original tiles swaying 37% of people towards an older property.

Homebuyers are also keen on the idea of cornicing and ceiling roses, singled out by 26% of people in the survey, while just over a fifth (21%) listed original radiators as a major draw towards period properties.

Period homes do come with a heftier price tag than many new-builds though, but surprisingly it is millennials aged 22-37 who were the most likely to shy away from a new-build in favour of an existing home (89%), while the older generation aged 38-58 were slightly less inclined to buy an older home (86%).

Changing attitudes

Despite these survey results, the number of people buying new-builds continues to rise, and there is a lot to be said for the benefits that come with buying a brand new property – or even investing in one before it has been built to reap even more advantages.

One of the huge plus-sides is, obviously, the fact that they are new. Unlike many 100-year-old houses, a new-build will not need any work doing and can be lived in straight away, with a full set of fresh furnishings and state of the art appliances. Typically, new-builds are also covered by a 10-year NHBS new home warranty, so if something breaks within a certain amount of time, the homeowner will not have to foot the bill.

With this comes the added cost savings involved. Compared to a home with original windows and floors, a newly built home is incredibly energy efficient, with double or even triple glazing, more draught-proofing and insulation and sometimes even smart home technology such as built-in remote heating and lighting controls. Even though some may baulk at the price tag of a newer home, the savings to be made over the years can be huge.

New-builds can have character too

According to Robby Du Toit, managing director of Sellhousefast, while older properties have their charm, there are plenty of reasons people choose to buy new-builds.

“New-build properties are increasing in popularity due to a competitive off-plan price, and governmental Help to Buy initiatives, making it a more prosperous and modern appeal to young individuals and couples who are looking to get onto the property ladder.”

If lack of character is the main concern for a prospective homebuyer, this can easily be remedied by decor choices, particularly if purchasing the home off-plan. You can easily add sash windows, real wooden flooring and cornicing to any property, offering a perfect balance of a cheaper, more energy efficient home that still has character and soul.

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