New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (2023)

New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (1)

Written by Martha LottReviewed by Mike Ashton

20th Nov 2019(Last updated on 16th Feb 2023)10 minute read

With choosing the perfect place to call home, there are a variety of decisions to make. A major factor to consider is new build vs old house. But whether you want to invest in an older house or have a fresh start with a new build home, it’s largely based on your own preference.

Some people are immediately drawn to the charm and stability of an older house whilst others yearn for the blank canvas of a modern home. Then there are also some who have no idea where to start due to the endless amount of choices available to them.

(Video) Why I REGRET Buying a New Build vs Old Build Home

There are pros and cons for both house types so Compare My Move has compiled a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of both new and older homes to help you decide exactly what you want. From the importance of hiring a chartered surveyor to issues you need to look out for in both kinds of property, we hope this guide will help make the choice easier for you when considering these.

This article will cover the following:

  1. The Charm of a Period House
  2. Tips for Buying an Old House
  3. The Benefits of a New Build House
  4. Tips for Buying a New Build House
  5. New Build vs Old Home?
  6. Why Do I Need a Survey?
  7. Do New Builds Lose Value?
  8. Learn More About New Builds

The Charm of a Period House

If you're buying an older home, it may have the perfect combination of being matured and weathered with a strong and reliable charm. When you compare an older house to many of the new builds available on the market, it often seems to hold qualities that have since been lost in modern designs.

One of the major appeals of older houses is space. Rooms are, by comparison, generally more spacious in older homes. The garden space is also usually much bigger which often makes older homes more appealing to younger families. Georgian properties are often huge, so no need to worry about whether your furniture will fit in when the removals team arrive! There many different property types and routes to buying a house, for more information, read our guide on the best ways to buy a house.

Pros & Cons of an Old Build House

New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (2)


  • Space - Older houses were often built with spacious areas, which still proves to be a massive bonus for many homeowners today.
  • Thick Walls - Many modern properties are now made with thinner and lighter walls and plasterboard, whereas older properties usually have thicker walls made of brick or stone.
  • Better Parking - Period properties are more likely to have ample parking and long driveways. Today, new-build terraced house owners are often lucky if they have space for a single car outside, and parking is often on-street or away from the house.
  • Bigger Rooms & Gardens - In the past, huge developments were less common, and multiple cars per household were not an issue, so homes were often surrounded by open land instead.


  • Old Heating System - Older houses are often renowned for tired heating systems and leaking heat, which means an older house will often take longer to warm up.
  • Wear and Tear - Another common downside of an older house is the wear and tear, which may not have been addressed. You may have issues with damp, leaks and old, worn-out features.
  • Renovations - When you move into an older house, you can often find there is work to be done. They often need refurbishing and, at the very least, you may need to fix the old-fashioned décor if the house has not been kept up-to-date.
  • Expensive Maintenance – In some older builds it might cost more to fix certain things if the item you need is not easily available today.

Save on Your Property Survey

Speak to a RICS Surveyor Today

(Video) First Time Buyers series! New Build Vs Old Houses (Pre-Existing) UK. PROS & CONS? Lara Joanna Jarvis

Tips for Buying an Old House

  • Ask Questions - Don't forget to ask questions when buying a new build home. It's good to know more about the developer as well as the condition of the property. You should also ask about the local area and any previous developments the developer has been involved with.
  • Get a House Survey – Hiring a chartered surveyor that is regulated by RICS is nearly always a worthy investment. They will make you aware of any defects and damage which you might have missed, so you can understand the costs of any required repairs before you commit to buying. To save you time and money, Compare My Move can connect you with up to 5 experienced and verified surveyors within a few seconds. You will usually need a RICS Level 3 for an older house, particularly if it has been altered or seems to be in poorer repair.
  • Budget for Unforeseen Faults – It’s a good idea to add an extra 20% to your repair/refurbish budget for any unexpected faults, hidden surprises and general wear and tear after you move in. Check out our cost of moving house guide so you don’t come across any nasty surprises along the way.

The Benefits of a New Build House

There is nothing quite like buying something brand new, especially when it comes to your property. There are many benefits of a new build home that you just don't get with an old house. There’s something satisfying about living in a home that no one else has lived in - being the first to take a shower, sleep in the bedroom, use the kitchen. It’s completely yours and yours alone.

Even if you're not the very first owner, you will still get that fresh, new feeling with a modern home. You will have smooth and even walls, no horrid Artex on the ceiling, lovely red bricks, a shiny front door, and a chance to decorate your home exactly how you want to. It’s the perfect blank canvas to start your new life in.

Pros & Cons of a New Build House

New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (3)


  • Energy Efficient - A major benefit of new builds is that they're generally well-insulated with cavity wall foam and double-glazing. As a result, these homes are cheaper to run and cosy.
  • Easy to Personalise - Home buyers are usually able to choose everything from the carpet colours to the kitchen style if they buy early enough in the construction phase, meaning you can decorate your place however you wish.
  • 10-Year Warranty - A new-build house will usually come with a 10-year new home warranty, so if anything covered was to break, the developer is obliged to have it fixed. These warranties can be limited in scope, particularly after the first two years. They can be difficult to enforce but usually provide some limited comfort.
  • No Property Chains - Moving into a new property means there is no waiting for someone to move out - except the developer who is building! There is no moving chain, so getting into your new house should be less hassle and stress-free.


  • Lack of Character – New build houses often don't have the unique features that older houses do. More often than not, new builds tend to lack character and individuality and can often look very similar. To ensure uniformity, some developers may even enforce restrictive covenants in the contract to restrict how much you can alter the property.
  • Thin Walls – Most new houses are now made with thinner, lightweight walls finished with plasterboard, meaning the walls are often thin and hollow - you might hear more of your neighbours than if you lived in an older house.
  • More Expensive – Although new builds are usually more energy-efficient than older builds, they often sell at a higher premium so can cost more than comparable older houses.
  • Delays – If you’re waiting for your new house to be built, then you might experience delays which could affect the completion date.

Save on Your Property Survey

(Video) New Build V Old Build | what are the pros and cons? #JVHOME

Speak to a RICS Surveyor Today

Tips for Buying a New Build House

  • Negotiate – If you are buying off the plan then you will have room to negotiate on the price. The earlier you show interest in the development, the more chance you have of successfully negotiating on the price of your new property.
  • Know What You’re Paying For – When buying off-plan, be sure you know exactly what is included in the price. Will you get white goods and turf, or will you have to buy them yourself?
  • Staging of a Show Home – Try to see past the staging in the show home as your house will be different. As well as considering a Condition Report, you should arrange for a Snagging List, which is a detailed list of the outstanding finishing works which the builder should complete before you move in.

New Build vs Old Home?

As a general rule, new build houses are usually more expensive than older properties in the UK. For example, a one-bedroom older house in London costs on average £137,000 less than a one-bedroom new build flat. Although old build houses are cheaper to buy, the owners often end up paying more for renovations

New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (4)

Data from Homes & Property

On the other hand, you'll save £629 on your energy bills in a new build home as they are usually much more energy efficient. Older houses usually have a lot more character and interesting features, but they often have bigger spaces that take longer to heat up, which will add more to your bills.

New Build Vs Old Build: Which is Better? (5)

Data from Home Builders Federation

Why Do I Need a Survey?

It's always advisable to get a professional property survey before buying a property, as it's vital you know the property's condition, and any likely repairs, before the transaction is completed. There are a number of property surveys to choose from, including a Level 1 (Condition Report), a Level 2 (Homebuyers Survey), a Level 3 (Building Survey) and a Snagging List for new builds.

If you're purchasing a property, you want to know what you're buying before you commit. A Level 2 is the cheapest of the comprehensive surveys, and is usually perfect for modern houses around 50 years old. Level 3 is far more thorough and is for unusually constructed modern properties or most building types over around 50 years old. Many new builds will benefit from a Condition Report to make sure they have been built correctly, and it is often a good idea to arrange a further Snagging List so you and the developer are aware of any issues that need fixing before construction is complete.

(Video) Updated: New build VS Old build house - Which is the right choice for you in 2022?

Whichever type of survey you choose, it is often worth arranging a valuation, saving you money in the long run as you can either re-negotiate the price to cover the repair costs or back out of the sale altogether. You need to know if you are financially capable of maintaining the building, ensuring it's a safe place to live now and in the future. Whether you choose an older home or new build, a property survey can be vital in saving you from future costs and ensuring a safe and well-maintained home.

Do New Builds Lose Value?

Unfortunately the answer is often ‘yes’ – at least in the short term. Just like a new car or anything else, most first-time homes carry a ‘premium’ price. The amount of this can vary a lot, and a little market research will usually show the difference between a new property’s value and an equivalent older home in your area.

There are no fixed rules, but most property professionals agree that a first-time home will lose much of it’s premium after it’s sale, and it’s value will then usually rise or fall in line with the rest of the second-hand property market after that.

If you make an effort to add value to your home with home improvements, then your new build might gain value, but this is not always guaranteed and you should always seek professional advice before investing in your home to increase it’s value. If you don't take care of your home, resulting in an unattractive 'curb appeal', this could decrease the value of your home.

Learn More About New Builds

This has been part of our new build homes guide. The next article in this series will explain exactly what it means to buy a property off-plan. To understand the process, read our guide on what does buying an off-plan property mean?

Save on Your Property Survey

Speak to a RICS Surveyor Today

(Video) moskov old build vs new build ! old build is op for me ! old build power ! AB Arup


Is it better to buy an older house or a newer house? ›

Paying more upfront may be worth it for the lower maintenance and utility costs these homes incur over time – but if high upfront costs won't work in your financial situation, you may be better suited for an older house, as they usually require less money upfront and will allow you to stagger home maintenance costs ...

Are newer houses built better? ›

Conclusion. Generally, newer homes are more comfortable (energy efficient), safer, less prone to earthquake/wind damage, and need less expensive updating and repairs. Newer homes tend to be larger with open floor plans and larger storage and closet areas and are, well, just newer.

Is it better to buy an existing home or build? ›

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house? As a rule of thumb, it's cheaper to buy a house than to build one. Building a new home costs $34,000 more, on average, than purchasing an existing home. The median cost of new construction was $449,000 in May 2022.

Is it worth buying a 100 year old house? ›

It can be perfectly safe to buy a 100 year old house. On the surface, there's absolutely nothing wrong with buying a 100-year-old home. Still, you should be wary of structural issues and other problems associated with aged houses, such as lead paint and pest problems.

What is the best age to own a house? ›

Key Takeaways
  • The median age for first-time homebuyers in 2017 was 32, according to the National Association of Realtors. ...
  • The best age to buy is when you can comfortably afford the payments, tackle any unexpected repairs, and live in the home long enough to cover the costs of buying and selling a home.
Mar 6, 2022

Why new builds are better? ›

Less maintenance

The best part of buying a new build house is, predictably, that it is new. This means that, with fresh appliances and furniture, your house is more likely to last. Most new build houses come with a 10-year warranty, so you will be less likely to pay a lot of money on repairing and fixing the place up.

What is the lifespan of a new build house? ›

This is largely debated within the construction industry as it is really dependant on the materials that are used, the quality of the workmanship and the maintenance that is required and followed through on. On average, the generally expected and acceptable lifespan of a home should last at least 60 years.

Do new builds lose value? ›

Do new builds lose value? New build values can depreciate in the short term, simply because they are no longer 'new'. So, if you're only planning to stay in your property for a short period time, a new build may not be right for you as an investment.

Why old houses are the best? ›

Old homes have better-quality construction

Even the walls are likely different. In an older home they're probably built with plaster and lathe, making them structurally stronger than the drywall construction of modern homes. These older materials also provide a better sound barrier and insulation.

Will construction costs go down in 2023? ›

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that while housing costs have risen over the last ten years, cost increases should return to the national average of between 2 and 4 % in 2023.

Will 2023 be a good time to build a house? ›

Based on what we're seeing, our team of experts here at Heartland Builders thinks that 2023 will be a good time to build your custom forever home, despite rising costs and interest rates.

Are older homes harder to sell? ›

Are older homes harder to sell? They can be. For instance, older homes pose a much higher risk for sitting on the market. There are plenty of reasons why a home might not sell at all, but older homes pose a much higher risk for sitting on the market.

Can a house last 200 years? ›

Without special care and maintenance, the maximum lifespan of a house is about 200 years. Yes, there are historical buildings that are far older, but those have received special maintenance and preventive care that few other buildings receive.

Are houses built in the 70s good? ›

Houses built in the 1970's generally have modern components, albeit aged. The heating and electrical systems include many of the health and safety components that you would expect in a modern home.

What age is too late to buy a house? ›

Thanks to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, there is no age limit to taking out a mortgage. As long as you can meet the financial requirements, you're allowed to take out a loan at any time. To take out a mortgage over 60 you will need to be able to prove your ability to repay the loan.

What age can you not buy a house? ›

The maximum age for a mortgage can be up to in your eighties so we wouldn't worry at around the age of 60 about getting a mortgage if you have a suitable financial situation and the means to repay a mortgage.

Is 55 too old to buy a house? ›

If you're in your 50s, it's not too late to buy a new home, but it's key to ask the right questions and make the wisest decisions possible. Above all, make sure you won't be stuck making mortgage payments years after retirement.

Do new builds have a lot of problems? ›

New build homes routinely have faults that need to be addressed after completion of the purchase. It is a normal part of the new build purchase process to compile a snagging list after you move in, setting out all of the problems requiring attention that you have discovered at the property.

Why do people buy new build homes? ›

With new builds, you aren't at the mercy of other buyers and the house is ready to move into straight away as you aren't waiting for previous owners to move out. This ultimately reduces the amount of uncertainty often associated with moving house. The only hold up you might have will be with the builder.

Is buying a new build stressful? ›

If you have never bought a house before, having first time buyer anxiety is natural. With so much to learn, and the issue of fees to consider, it is no surprise why house buying can be stressful. Yet, having a good awareness of the costs and various stages involved will do a lot to reduce any home buying jitters.

Are new build houses well insulated? ›

The internal wall insulation is also superior in new builds because these homes have well insulated cavity walls. This is done by insulating the cavity space between the outside and inside wall, adding an extra layer to keep the cold out and the heat in.

Do new builds increase house prices? ›

Are New Builds Harder to Sell? On average, new builds sell for 10% more than the typical home. However, the new build resale value tends to be significantly lower. Yet, once again, there are a number of factors that will influence the price of your new build home when you come to resell it.

Do new build houses go up in value? ›

The general consensus is that new builds appreciate in line with all other properties – not faster and not slower. You will have paid slightly more than the market value of the property when you bought it – how much more depends on your geography.

Why do people not like new builds? ›

Quality and Snags – New builds often get a bad press with stories of poor quality making the headlines. Even with the best new build home, you can still expect snags like doors getting stuck on new carpets or a loose tile.

What adds value to a new build? ›

How to Add Value to Your Home — Quick Updates
  • Paint exterior woodwork.
  • Repair windows and doors as well as old rainwater goods.
  • Update old-fashioned sanitaryware.
  • Paint old kitchen units and consider a new worktop.
  • Tidy and organise the garden space.
  • Repair, paint or re-carpet stairs and broken balustrades.
Nov 28, 2022

What to look out for when buying a new build? ›

New build premium pricing
  1. Compare the new build home you are looking at with similar “old” properties in terms of value, space and rental value in the local area. Check the price per square foot. ...
  2. Negotiate with the developers. ...
  3. Shop around for good deals. ...
  4. Plan to stay put for a few years. ...
  5. Think about adding value.

Do older homes have more problems? ›

Common problems in older homes result from deferred maintenance, poorly executed repairs, and older building materials, and fixing them can be expensive. The issues found in an older house will depend on how well previous owners have maintained it, but you will find unpreventable age-related problems.

What is the point of cheap old houses? ›

Cheap Old Houses provides hope for many would-be homeowners who feel priced out of the market and inspiration for those of us who simply follow their journeys online.

Is it healthy to live in an old house? ›

Some old homes contain outdated building materials, such as asbestos and lead paint, which can be hazardous to your health. Structural issues with the foundation are also common issues with older homes. The electrical system may be outdated and out of code or include ungrounded outlets.

Are older homes worth buying? ›

Old homes have better-quality construction

Even the walls are likely different. In an older home they're probably built with plaster and lathe, making them structurally stronger than the drywall construction of modern homes. These older materials also provide a better sound barrier and insulation.

Is buying an old house a good investment? ›

On average, a historic property's value is about 26 percent higher than other homes in the surrounding market, and it is not heavily affected by market downturns. This means that you can end up with exciting profits if you hold onto the property for a little while.

What are the advantages of buying an old house? ›

Pros of Buying an Old House
  • Move-in time. Typically upon purchasing an old home, you can move in quite quickly. ...
  • Established neighbourhood. Living in an established community has a variety of advantages. ...
  • Mature Landscaping. ...
  • Renovations. ...
  • Location.
Dec 23, 2021

What age is considered an old house? ›

Antique-dating a house would classify a home aged 100 years or more as older. In casual conversation—or on HGTV—you're likely to hear houses anywhere from 10 to 25 years called older. So, if you think about it, establishing 50 years as the line of demarcation for older homes is a logical compromise.

Do old houses have more problems? ›

Common problems in older homes result from deferred maintenance, poorly executed repairs, and older building materials, and fixing them can be expensive. The issues found in an older house will depend on how well previous owners have maintained it, but you will find unpreventable age-related problems.

Does age of house affect value? ›

4. Age and condition. Typically, homes that are newer appraise at a higher value. The fact that critical parts of the house, like plumbing, electrical, the roof, and appliances are newer and therefore less likely to break down, can generate savings for a buyer.

Should you buy a new house at 50 years old? ›

Advantages of buying a home in your 50s

By this stage of life, you will hopefully have money saved up from years of employment. Savings are essential to put towards a deposit for a home loan and a stronger deposit could potentially enable a higher purchase, opening up your options on the property market.

How long should houses last? ›

The average lifespan of a newly constructed house is 70–100 years. Factors such as weak housing materials and damaging weather exposure can shorten a home's lifespan. Routine repair and maintenance can improve the longevity of a home.

What are the disadvantages of living in an old building? ›

If you analyze the offer of old apartments on the market, here are the things you should consider:
  • Thermal insulation & outdated installations. ...
  • Subdivision. ...
  • Lack of underground parking. ...
  • Lack of modern amenities. ...
  • Risk in case of an earthquake. ...
  • Quality of construction materials.

Does the age of a house matter? ›

Many buyers rank the age of a home as one of the least important factors when deciding which home to buy. However, experts think it should be higher on the list of considerations. While many aspects of housing have held true across the decades, there are plenty of different trends that affect homebuilding over time.

Do older homes increase in value? ›

5. Age and condition of your home. Because the physical characteristics of your home depreciate in value, a newer home will have a higher value than an older home. Home appraisers rate your home's condition based on the amount and degree of repairs required.


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