Q. My parents have just offered to help me onto the property ladder with a handsome deposit thus I am in the process of looking at my options. I have already settled on a location but I am really struggling on whether to buy a new build off plan or go for something a few years older that is already established. I am getting lots of conflicting advice and the argument for both seems reasonable but leaves me feeling extremely confused, please help?
A. London is literally heaving with new developments in every borough as developers strive to cash in on the fairly stable market conditions we have been experiencing for some time now. I can understand your confusion as both options offer similar outcomes but by exploring them both in further detail and thinking about your long term plans I am sure you will reach a sensible conclusion. First of all do consider that in general new build tends to have a smaller footplate than the older developments. Developers are ever keen to get the most financially out of every site hence the shrinkage in room sizes. Back in the day especially in some areas in and around London, land was cheap and there were some more than generous room sizes on some developments that reflected that. Fast forward to today and you will find that if size really matters then the older properties will definitely be the best option for you. If however space is not your main concern rather the latest all singing all dancing kitchens and bathrooms then a new build may be the best option for you. Developer’s constantly move with the times and will work alongside architects and interior designers to come up with the latest offerings on interiors and we all know that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Fancy communal areas, gyms and leisure facilities on new builds create a lifestyle which many will buy into. However you will pay the price, new build tends to be more expensive than resales for a couple of reasons, the first one being obvious, you will always pay a premium for new and secondly given that you are usually buying sometime before completion they forward price the units which can work for or against you depending on the market conditions. Older more established properties can offer confidence in that all the teething problems are now ironed out, and another benefit is that as long as you choose wisely their aspect can pretty much be guaranteed, you can also see if there has been much uplift in price over the years confirming whether it’s worth investing in or not. New build on the other hand usually offers an ever changing aspect as the site continues to be developed so do be sure you understand what is being built in front of your chosen unit, and until its actually complete its hard to gauge exactly how it may fair later on in the resale market. Bottom line is don’t slack on your research to enable you to make a fully informed and wise decision.