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nigel woollsey

Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer
Published: 27/11/2019

Small is beautiful when it comes to choosing a new home, according to new research from Admiral Home Insurance. Despite homebuyers concerns about small room sizes, it seems most Brits are still happier to choose a new build property over a period home.
Although buyers love the character, larger rooms and bigger gardens of older style properties, 23% would still opt for a new build – with the top three attributes informing their decisions being eco-friendly builds, as well as low maintenance and lower running costs.

The top three most popular style of properties

While new builds took the top spot, Victorian homes (built 1838 – 1900) proved popular too – landing in second place. Georgian style properties (built 1721 – 1810) came third, as the oldest popular choice among homebuyers.

Despite being the most popular choice, it seems buyers are all too aware of the shortcomings of new build homes. Nearly two-fifths (38%) of those surveyed thought that the bedrooms were too small, as did 37% of people when it came to the living rooms too. Unsurprisingly, 36% also felt that their much smaller gardens were the worst elements of new build properties, while 35% and 31% noted their lack of character and being overpriced respectively.

Help to Buy a factor in new build popularity?

Interestingly, 31% of people thought that both new builds were currently too expensive and 34% thought that older properties were more expensive to buy.

New builds, unlike older properties, do come with the advantage of schemes such as Help to Buy. Help to Buy, exclusively available to new build properties, offers first-time buyers with a 5% deposit a top-up of 20% (or 40% in London) of the property price towards their mortgage deposit. As a result, the borrower can access mortgages at a maximum loan-to-value of up to 75% instead of 95%, meaning access to typically more favourable interest rates.

Older properties score high for character and size but low for practicality

Older properties held strong appeal for character (88%), original features (84%) and large rooms and gardens (75%). However, buyers realised the shortcomings too, stating the worst attributes of older homes as high maintenance costs (57%), being expensive to run (47%), and problems with a listed status (37%).

Those buyers who choose an older property may encounter “non-standard” construction types, and this can make it harder or more expensive to find home insurance or a mortgage.

First-time buyers should act now before Help to Buy ISA closes

Those first-time buyers who are still saving for a mortgage deposit should act now if they want to benefit from the Government bonus available from Help to Buy ISAs . These ISA accounts pay a 25% bonus up to a maximum value of £3,000. The scheme closes to new savers on 30 November 2019, but once open, will continue to accept funds until 30 November 2029.


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