Spring in the Air – ‘Old vs New’

Tuesday 18th March was officially the first day of Spring but here in Harrogate our amazing crocuses are already in full bloom having survived the snow, ice and torrential rain of recent weeks.

Some parts of the Stray may look half drowned but nothing has dampened the surge in activity in the local property market in the run up to Easter.

Yes it’s true that seasonality is less of a factor in Harrogate compared to other parts of the county and that Selling / Buying & Renting never takes a break here but even so Easter is still a very significant stimulus leading to a big increase in property transactions.

Daylight hours are stretching out , the grass is growing again and the trees starting to leaf – all of which makes the photographing / marketing of properties more inviting but more importantly tends to trigger big decisions : Upsizing / Downsizing / Extending / First Time & First Stepper Buying / Relocating for work or schools etc and some of the key imperatives  which are now driving things forward.

This Spring however there is a new dimension.

We are seeing the outcome all around us nowadays of the plans ,as directed by Whitehall , to build 3,000 new homes in and around the town. The five biggest mass market builders in the UK – ie Barratt ( David Wilson) / Persimmon / Taylor Wimpey / Bellway & Redrow are building , or about to build , here along with a number of very good smaller builders to include Charles Austin / Briahaze / Harron / Kebbell  / Linden / Miller and several more. All this begs the question we are now being asked by our clients ie should we go for an existing property or a new build ? and – is there a ‘New Build Premium’?

In brief our answer is – it’s your decision and yes there is usually a New Build premium – but it’s not that simple. All rests on numerous factors and is ultimately of course down to choice. You may believe that the difference between purchasing a new build home against purchasing an existing home is just individual preference. Some buyers (tenants) like the fresh modern feel of a new home, whilst others like a home that has stood the test of time. In many ways it’s like buying a car – some buyers like newness and a warranty – others are very happy with a good car with some miles on the clock but no VAT. Broadly speaking however there is a ‘new build premium’ for new-build versus buying a “second-hand “ property which increases in a buoyant market and reduces in a more difficult market. Prior to the housing crash of 2007/2008, the ‘New Build Premium’ was at its highest but post the housing crash this premium has diminished massively particularly in Harrogate.

Let’s look now at some of the pros and cons

Benefits  – thanks to initiatives such as the government’s Help to Buy scheme it is easier, particularly but not only for first-time buyers, to get funding for both old or new properties ( up to a purchase price of £600,000).

  • With most new-builds, it is possible for the buyer to work with the builder to customise a property and choose bathroom fittings, kitchen appliances etc. As the first owner of a property, you can stamp your mark on it from day one and not have to live with the design choices of previous owners.
  • Most new-builds also come with a guarantee from the builder. If a property is registered with the National House Building Council, it will have a 10 year warranty and protection scheme.
  • New-builds can be more energy-efficient than older properties, with better loft insulation etc.
  • New-builds are generally laid out in such a way to reflect the realities of modern family life, with a large open-plan kitchen-cum-dining-room-cum-living area. This often supersedes the separate spaces favoured in older properties.
  • If you buy off-plan, which you may be able to do at a discount, a new-build may prove to be a good investment especially if you choose an up and coming area where property prices are on the rise.
  • Points to consider
    – Some new-builds can be less spacious inside than older homes, with slightly lower ceilings and storage space.
  • As land is at such a premium, new-build properties may be more closely bunched, and have smaller gardens.
  • Like new cars, which depreciate in value after a few hundred miles, brand new homes are not brand new for ever.
  • Whilst the best new-builds are generally very good , it is important to have a ‘snagging survey’ carried out before buying to avoid any surprises in the future.
  • The anticipated completion date of a new-build property can slip. This need not be a problem, but an extended delay can put a mortgage offer in jeopardy.
  • It’s worth noting that some new homes developers invest in / re-develop period properties, often into blocks of flats, so there are some instances where a homeowner can benefit from the best of both worlds.

This is not a debate in which there will ever be a clear winner.

As for Myrings we would say trust your local high street Harrogate Estate Agent to give great advice for “ Old verses New “ depending on your Wish List / Circumstances / Finances. They will explain the pluses and minuses and help you find your dream home. But please remember – it’s good to keep an open mind on the subject and not miss out on new or old properties when they come on the market.

If you wish to discuss the above or are interested in the Property market in Harrogate then please come along and see us and enjoy a free no obligation chat about the services we provide.



About Charles

This blog follows the residential Sales and Lettings market in Harrogate, Knaresborough and surrounding villages.You will find information, analysis and guidance here along with news about Harrogate. I’m Charles Myring working in the Myrings Estate Agents Ltd business alongside my son Simon , daughter Gemma and dedicated sales teams. If you're thinking of Selling / Buying / Letting / Renting property locally Myrings would be happy to assist.