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Press Article

Metro - 21 February 2013

What to buy – a new build or a period property?

By Jo Eccles

There’s been a lot in the press about new property developments being built in central London over the coming years. In my experience, buyers tend to be fans of one or the other – either they love period buildings and the character it offers, or they love the new build style.

When deciding whether to buy a period or new build property, there are various factors to consider. Newer developments are viewed as hassle-free as they often have a management company in place, and tend to require less maintenance as they’re new. Period buildings can be run on more of an ad hoc basis and therefore the annual service charge is much lower, but maintenance works will always be required at some point, so it’s important to budget for this.

Another factor to consider is rarity value and how well the property will hold its value. Rarity is something which most new builds tend to lack unfortunately. In central London, there aren’t that many period properties which tick all of the boxes for a ‘good quality buy’, such as being in the right location, having the right outlook, proportions etc, so when an attractive period property comes onto the market, buyers will often compete against each other. In contrast, we see very few new build properties going to sealed bids as buyers know that almost identical replicas exist and will come up for sale in due course.

If you decide to go down the new build route, consider the size of the development. In a large development, there are usually several properties for sale at any time, and because most will be quite similar in terms of style and layout, prices tend to be more negotiable and values don’t always hold up as well as owners would like.

This explains why smaller developments can often hold their values better versus larger new build schemes. However, there are some exceptions, but they tend to be the very expensive larger developments where the owners can afford to hold out for the price they want.