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Kerb appeal: buyers want builders to focus on character and quality

While new-build properties come with a whole host of benefits, some people are still put off by their negative perceptions of buying a brand new property.

More than a quarter of respondents (26%) in a recent research poll by residential warranty provider BLP Insurance said they perceived new-build properties as potentially offering less character than an older property, while 24% were concerned about the quality of a newly constructed home.

The survey, which asked 2,000 adults about their preferences when buying a new-build property, also found that the size and space offered in a new-build was viewed as a potential concern by 24% of respondents.

Government schemes can help buyers

The cost of buying raised concerns with 32% of 16-24 year-olds, with an overall 21% of those surveyed highlighting cost as an issue. Buyers aged over 55 years (18%) were least worried about affordability, but 30% in this category preferred character properties. However, the introduction of the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme and Starter Homes Initiative, both of which are only available on new homes, offer a significant advantage to first-time buyers when opting for a new build.
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Kim Vernau, chief executive of BLP Insurance, said: “Build quality is an increasing issue in the UK housing market. As developers attempt to meet the high levels of demand for new homes, practical design and quality should not be compromised.

“As more and more buyers become aware of the issues that poor quality of build gives rise to, all parties involved in the construction of new homes will have to respond, taking greater responsibility and ensuring quality of the build process going forward.”

New-build warranties and off-plan options

In the recently published Which? guide to buying a new home, the 10-year NHBC warranty covering structural defects, along with many developers offering their own two-year warranty, are highlighted as advantages of buying a opting for a new-build. The guide points out that given the modern specification which housebuilders incorporate into new properties, the cost of major repairs to buyers is unlikely in the first few years. Increasingly energy efficient and eco-friendly homes also means lower utility bills for buyers.

While some people perceive new-build properties as lacking character, Which?’s guide says that buying off-plan can give the buyer a blank canvas and an opportunity to ‘personalise’ a new property by being able to choose their own fixtures, fittings and finishes.

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