Should you buy new or used? A mattress – always new. Appliances – new if you can afford it. Furniture – new unless it is a nice antique piece. A home?
Who wouldn’t want the brand new, well-proportioned, well-insulated two-bedroom apartment, re-wired, re-plumbed, with unused appliances and carpets that have never been walked over, plus a 10 year NHBC warranty? Over the years, I have shown numerous buyers this utopian idea of a property only for them to buy the one-and-a-half bedroom third floor flat without a lift that has a leaking roof and dodgy boiler for exactly the same price.
These personal experiences have recently been supported by an MFS survey that has found 81% of UK adults are unenthused about the prospect of living in a new build and 60% of UK adults feel there are too many poorly-built new builds.
Deep down, estate agents know this already – period properties look nicer. Georgian and Victorian architectural styles have passed the test of time; both have been selling consistently for 120 years and more. Edwardian to an extent and Art Deco done right is eye catching. Post WWII not so much – the pre-fabs of the 1940s and 50s haven’t lasted. The brutalist architecture of the 1960s and 70s has its fans but is the Marmite of designs.
More recently, the glass boxes of different shapes and sizes have sold well in the right market but early signs suggest they will not age with the same grace and charm of a Victorian terrace.
Is a car a comparable asset? In many ways not: new cars are depreciating assets and new homes do not plummet in value the moment you move in. Vintage cars in excellent condition do command a premium and hold their value and increase, like the very best period homes.