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More than half think older houses are better quality than new builds

More than half think older houses are better quality than new builds
Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Over half (55%) of UK adults feel that older properties are of a higher quality than new builds, a survey has found.

A poll of 2,000 people carried out by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) found that this compares to just 21% of people who believed new builds are typically high quality. Some 12% think older homes and newer homes are of a similar standard. 

The CIOB said this pointed to a “resistant perception” people had despite “many indicators suggesting new-build properties are built to a higher standard with more oversight and regulation”. 

When asked how they felt about new-build homes, 48%said they were overpriced while 41% said they lacked character. Some 32% of people said they were of poor quality and just 21% believed they were efficient. 

The CIOB said the perception that new builds were overpriced made sense as the price of housing in England was high and the incentives of “added extras” increased overall costs. 

There seemed to be a lack of confidence in housing developers as 46% of respondents said they had a mid-level of trust in builders to develop new homes to a high standard, and a third had a low level of trust. 

Just 9% of people said they had a high level of trust in housing developers, while 12%  were unsure. 

This fed through to their sentiment towards buying a new-build home as 46% said they were very unlikely to do so in the next five years. Some 14% were somewhat unlikely to purchase a new build. Around 22% said they were either very or somewhat likely to buy a newly built property. 

Quality in new builds should not be optional 

The CIOB said it was “not necessarily surprising that new-build housing is under scrutiny”, adding that the use of CGI imagery to advertise developments sometimes created an “expectation that is often unrealistic and far removed from the final product”. 

The organisation said poor media coverage did not help but did acknowledge that some buyers had a bad experience with new builds. 

It said: “Key to breaking through the barriers created by a poor perception of the current new-build housing market is ensuring that housebuilders provide a consistently high quality product across the UK.” 

The CIOB recommended that all housebuilders operating in England sign to be regulated by the New Homes Quality Board and accountable to New Homes Ombudsman. It also called on the government to make this a mandatory requirement. 

The CIOB added: “Quality in housebuilding should not be an option, and consumers should always have access to recourse if their purchase is faulty or does not operate as intended.”