period property

Period property or brand-new home: changing priorities among buyers

Buying a doer-upper or a period property was once a popular option for those on a lower budget, but things have changed and it seems newer homes are higher on the agenda.

A period property that comes with character, charm and individuality may sound like a dream home, but what about the cost? More than ever, buyers – alongside tenants and investors – are factoring in the additional costs involved in older homes and opting for new-builds instead.

A new survey carried out by St. Modwen Homes has found that a huge three quarter of homeowners (74%) would never buy a period property, while more than a third (38%) even said they regretted buying one. Of those, 81% said  they would consider investing in a new-build as their next home.

So what’s putting people off? Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian properties often come with specific, desirable features such as high ceilings, large windows and fireplaces, which are some of the factors that draw people in, along with original floors and doors.

But unfortunately, particularly as the cost of both materials and labour has skyrocketed recently, the cost of maintaining, repairing and replacing these features, not to mention the general upkeep and the potentially higher bills that come hand-in-hand, is deterring more buyers.

The problem with period property

Some of the issues cited by the 2,000 homeowners surveyed by St. Modwen Homes included old windows that let in cold and noise – an issue for 39% of people – along with mouldy walls (34%), dodgy electrics (31%) and leaking roofs (28%).

The period property problems continue with the likes of rising damp for 28% of respondents, bad plumbing (26%), broken boilers (24%) and leaking pipes (23%). And while original, Victorian tiles may look lovely, 21% have issues with cracked tiles, 21% with flaking exterior paintwork, and 18% with broken radiators.

Most if not all of these problems can of course be fixed with renovations, but at a time when people are more conscious than ever of their spending – and with builders’ costs higher than ever – this isn’t an option for everyone.

Ongoing costs ramping up

Energy bills are currently at an all-time high, and many people experienced difficult winters. Those living in the least energy efficient homes generally forked out the most, compared with new-builds that tend to be better insulated and have much lower gas and electric costs.

Keeping the house warm over the winter was expensive for 24% of respondents in the survey, and 16% said that they’d had to spend thousands maintaining their period property. The average expenditure on unexpected repairs came in at £7,234 per year.

What do today’s buyers want?

A quarter of people surveyed (25%) said they were looking for a modern, brand-new home as opposed to a period property.

Also high on the agenda for buyers at the moment was a driveway (43%), good insulation (42%), a kitchen island (38%), a hot water tap (37%) and an en-suite bathroom (36%).

In a nod to the huge increase in home-working and hybrid working, which has led to a general increase in interest for a more spacious home, a quarter (23%) of respondents would like a home office. Meanwhile, 14% said they wanted an electric car charging point.

Jo Winston, sales and marketing director at St. Modwen Homes, said: “As the cost-of-living bites, it’s clear that homeowner expectations and needs are changing. Whether it’s uncovering DIY mistakes from previous residents or dealing with damp, mould and draughty windows, our research has shown that many people are struggling to simply keep their period property ticking over.

“Thankfully, the new homes coming on the market are generally cheaper to run, more energy efficient, and because of the materials used, require less maintenance – all clearly important factors to the modern homeowner, particularly in the current economic climate.”

BuyAssociation specialises in helping property investors find their next investment, with a focus on off-plan, new-build properties to either live in or rent out. Get in touch today for more information.

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