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Old builds vs new builds: What does the UK prefer?

18th Mar 24 3:11 pm

A new report has revealed whether UK first-time buyers prefer old or new house builds and whether most Brits know how the age of a home affects insurance costs.

According to Go.Compare home insurance’s survey data, older homes are the UK’s dream house type if the cost was not a factor. Over two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents said their ideal home would be an older building, compared to 36% who would choose a more modern one.

Despite the higher cost, the UK clearly prefers older builds.

The report also revealed that 80% of first-time buyers opted for an older property.  So, whether they simply liked the aged look or it better suited their availability, a house with a little history is the nation’s favourite.

Only 19% of buyers opted for a new build (a house less than two years old) as their first home, and 1% were unsure of the age of their first home. The survey revealed that over half (59%) of those who bought a new build did so due to higher availability and convenience. Meanwhile, 30% bought a new home because the cost was cheaper, and just under a quarter (23%) said a new build allows them to keep ongoing costs down, like maintenance and bills.

The insurance comparison site also revealed that older builds are preferred across all generations. However, Gen X and Baby Boomers stand out as favouring older homes the most, with 82% of both generations saying so.

Although the preferred choice, older properties tend to be more expensive to buy and maintain, and often come with pricier insurance. However, the report revealed that a high number of Brits (83%) are unaware that home insurance typically costs more for a property with multiple former owners.

When asked if they think insurance is cheaper for new builds, over half (56%) of respondents were unsure, and almost a third (27%) believed it was more expensive. In fact, only 17% of survey respondents believe insurance is cheaper for new builds, which is usually the case.

Ceri McMillan, home insurance expert at Go.Compare, said: “Brits might love an older property or aspire to own a home with a bit of history, but it’s important to consider the higher costs they come with.

“Older buildings will naturally need more maintenance, and can often be more expensive to run long-term. They can also be classed as a higher risk to insurers due to potential issues like subsidence and water damage, which will be taken into account. Newer homes often have lower insurance costs as they are typically built with the latest technology.

“However, if you dream of an older property, there’s plenty you can do to keep the cost down, like making home improvements and increasing your safety features. While new builds tend to have cheaper home insurance, it’s not always the case, so it’s best to compare policies and find out which one is the best fit for your property.”

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