A crane lifts a new home

New-build housing standards are about to get even higher in the UK

Thinking of investing in a new-build? There are already a multitude of benefits for buyers, but a new announcement from the government could add an extra incentive.

This week, the government has confirmed that it will deliver a New Homes Ombudsman for buyers of new-build homes, in what it has called a clampdown on “shoddy housebuilders”.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has released a statement saying that the new independent Ombudsman will be implemented as soon as possible. It will be given powers to step in and help buyers of new-build properties who have raised disputes with builders over the quality of the building work. All housebuilders will be required to join the New Homes Ombudsman once it is active, and rogue builders will have to compensate buyers for “shoddy work”.

Where developers want to make new properties are available under Help to Buy, they will have to show that they  “put quality first” in order to be part of this scheme.

Support from the new watchdog, including advice and subsequent action taken, will be free for the consumer. This should ensure issues are dealt with swiftly and with less complications than is currently experienced by some new-build buyers. Upon purchase of a new-build property, once the Ombudsman is operational, buyers should be made aware of its existence with a clear course of action to take if they encounter problems with the quality of their property.

Raising industry standards

Commenting on the proposals, Robert Jenrick said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

“That’s why the Ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.”

He added: “Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”

The new watchdog will have the power to ban rogue builders and developers, helping to raise standards across the industry. It will also be able to enforce the awarding of compensation to the buyer, direct developers to improve their service, and make recommendations to resolve disputes as well as request apologies and explanations from developers.

Improving the quality of new homes has become a major issue across the industry over recent years, with safety standards brought into the spotlight through the Grenfell disaster, for example, as well as a rise in the number of complaints from new-build homeowners. Housebuilding levels in the UK are currently increasing, meaning more people than ever are set to live in new-builds; but it is important that the focus remains on quality as well as quantity, hence the government’s latest steps.

The benefits of buying a new-build

Overall, standards of housebuilding in the UK are high, and there are many benefits to investing in a new-build property over an existing one. This applies to both property investors focusing on rental properties, and homeowners looking to get onto or step up the housing ladder. Some of the benefits include:

  • No chain – When buying an existing property, there is often a chain above you, which can add stress as well as slow things down if people higher up the chain pull out. This isn’t the case with new-builds. Buying a new property also removes the risk of being gazumped.
  • Discounts – Developers will sometimes offer money-off incentives enabling larger savings than when buying privately, particularly when a building project is in its early stages.
  • Peace of mind – New-build homes come with an NHBC (or equivalent) 10-year warranty. This includes a two-year builder warranty followed by an eight-year insurance agreement against damage to your home caused by building errors that affect the main structure.
  • Everything brand new – It goes without saying that when buying a new-build, all the fixtures, fittings and decor will be brand new, modern and unused, with most new appliances coming with their own warranties. Developers often install the latest smart technology as a selling point, too, with the most up-to-date energy efficiency and ventilation technologies.
  • Cheaper and greener – New-builds are substantially cheaper to run than the majority of existing properties, which offsets some of the premium paid at the outset over time. They are built to the latest environmental standards, with better insulation, more efficient heating systems and, as mentioned above, better appliances. According to the Home Builders Federation, more than 80% of new-builds have an A or B energy performance rating, while only 2.2% of older homes have the same.
  • Customise – If you invest before or during the building phase (off-plan), you might have the opportunity to choose things like the decor and even the appliances and layouts yourself.
  • Help to Buy – The government’s Help to Buy scheme is only available on new-builds, and has helped thousands of first-time buyers onto the housing ladder.
  • Great for tenants – Compared to older, tired rental properties, new-builds are much more appealing to tenants because they won’t have to worry about issues like damp, condensation or unreliable old boilers and heating systems that sometimes plague older rental properties. The fact that bills are much lower is an added bonus for tenants.
  • Less hassle for landlords – Property investors often have to deal with repairs and maintenance on their rental properties, but much of this is taken away with a new-build as the chance of appliances wearing out is significantly lower.
  • Compromise – If a brand new building isn’t for you, investing in a newly redeveloped existing building or conversion can be a good compromise. Everything internally is still brand new, often with optimised insulation and other mod cons to improve energy efficiency, but this option can offer more character than a new-build.
  • The New Homes Ombudsman – Raising standards in the industry further, and creating a clear pathway for buyers to raise concerns and issues over a new property, will safeguard the buyer and add a further incentive to investing in a new-build property.

At BuyAssociation, we only work with high-quality, reputable developers in the UK to ensure the highest standards. Take a look at some of our investment opportunities, and sign up for free to access more information. The majority of our investments are either new-build properties or newly converted from existing buildings.

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