New build vs. Second-hand homes in London: house price report reveals six-figure gap between new and resale flats

There’s a huge gulf between the average price of old and new-build flats in London. New builds can offer peace of mind while ex-councils flats are best for value so weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you buy.

Ex-council vs. new-build prices in every London borough

The six-figure price gulf between new and resale property, and between privately built and former council homes, is revealed in a new study focusing on London.

Research comparing the cost of one-bedroom flats in every borough shows pre-owned homes cost an average £542,715, while a new-build one-bedroom flat costs an average £679,671. That’s 22 percent — or almost £137,000 — more.

An ex-council one-bedroom flat is the best value of all at £396,317 on average, the Hamptons International study shows. This is more than £146,000 — or 31 percent — less than buying a privately built flat, and more than £283,000, or 52 percent, cheaper than a new-build flat.

New build is always the premium buy, for the peace of mind that comes with a modern, well-insulated home, often with such extras as communal gardens and sports facilities. In today’s tricky market some developers are offering good deals such as paying buyers’ stamp duty to stimulate sales, but the property will always come out more expensive with annual service charges on top.


New — what £350,000 buys you: a flat at Leven Wharf, Poplar, with a terrace and city views but only one bedroom. For sale with My London Home (020 8012 5708)

Not long ago you could have said a new-build flat, bought off-plan, would make you a profit by the time you moved in. The direction of the current market is anybody’s guess because of stamp duty hikes and the fallout from the Brexit vote.


Adrian Plant, director and head of new homes at estate agents Currell, says: “With the new build, you hope you know that for the first 10 years there will not be any major costs. You won’t need to pay for builders and plumbers, and many developments now come with a concierge to handle maintenance and sort out issues like arranging for parcel delivery or laundry, at a cost of service charges.”

Buyers of older homes pay less to purchase, but often then stump up for renovations and/or extensions. Of course, an older home may bring the bonus of period features such as cornicing, wide staircases, stained glass and Victorian tiled floors.



Old — what £329,999 buys you: a second-floor ex-council flat with two double bedrooms in Clapton E5. Former council homes can be great value, but ask locals what life on the estate is like before you commit to buying

Ex-local authority homes are fantastic value but this is the riskiest sector to buy into. Generally, those built before the Sixties and Seventies are higher quality and larger than a more modern home. But on estates blighted by years of underinvestment, flats can be shabby, common areas depressing and getting a mortgage can be a pain.

However, Stephen Lovelady, sales manager at Foxtons’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, says ex-council homes on his patch are often well built, with good security and sometimes well managed. He says most lenders will offer mortgages on ex-local authority homes in central London, although some will not lend on buildings above six storeys, or of poor construction standards.


Beyond Zone 1, broadly speaking, lenders are happy with ex-council homes in desirable areas and less keen on run-down locations. Buyers must research whether there are any major repairs planned for the block or estate because they, unlike the council tenants, will have to pay a share of the cost. Request a work plan from the local council which will give a five-year list of any projects plus an estimated cost. Your solicitor should investigate any major works when conveyancing your sale.

Communal halls, lifts and walkways are often grim. Bad management, crime, drugs and gangs of teenagers making life a misery are all possibilities on a big estate. A safer bet is a small, low-rise block that’s well integrated into local streets, although this might be more expensive than average.

So before you buy, contact the tenants and residents association to discuss any major problems, knock on doors and chat with residents, talk to the local paper, study police crime statistics and visit the flat during the day and at night.


The Need To Know Guide For First Time House Buyers

Our friends at Fridaysmove sent us this post about the possible pitfalls awaiting first-time home buyers who are keen to get their foot on the property ladder. Property Property Property know how confusing it can be to purchase a home – hopefully this advice will help those of you who might let your excitement get the better of you!

Buying a first home is such an exciting time, you have a budget to work to and an idea of the area you want to live and you set off to view properties with a choice of estate agents. Many first time buyers overlook the important points and let their excitement overwhelm them. This excitement often comes back to bite them a few years down the road.

Start At The Beginning

Having been in the real estate industry for many years, I saw my share of first time buyers. They would see a property they liked and buy it, they really thought it was that easy. Most of the time it is but when dealing with listed properties and older properties here in the UK, there are a few important steps you need to follow.

Rather than using a choice of agents and getting confused at what properties you have seen, it’s best to choose one top quality estate agent that works the area you are looking in. These agents specialise in the area and thanks to MLS (Multi Listing System), they have access to all the properties on the market in that area. Using one agent means you can build up a good relationship with your agent; they will get a good indication of the type of property you are looking for, which can save a lot of time.

By viewing with a choice of agents, you will be shown a large selection of properties that don’t meet your criteria or budget, but using one agent will ensure you only get to see the properties that suit your requirements and taste.

Putting In An Offer

After viewing a host of properties, you sit down and choose one that really tickled your fancy. It has the right number of bedrooms, it’s the perfect size, in the right location and it comes in on budget. You are so excited and call up the agent to make an appointment.

Let’s put the brakes on here. When signing the offer you must make it subject to a surveyor viewing the property. While this may cost you a small sum of money, it is always money well spent, especially when you are putting an offer in on an older property. This is the biggest mistake so many home-owners make and only later on, when the damp starts coming through, do they find out that the foundations are unstable or end up paying a fortune replacing the roof.

A surveyor will come in and do a thorough report; this way there are no nasty surprises about the property a couple of months or years down the road. You can then proceed with the offer depending on how much work the property will need and you can add this to your budget to ensure you will be able to afford any necessary repairs in the long run.

Signed and Sealed

Before you sign on the dotted line you should have a conveyancer in mind. Maybe you know of a conveyancer, a friend who works in the legal industry or you have a company you have worked with previously. It’s essential you know your conveyancer in advance. You can choose anyone to do the transfer for you, but you want to know that the conveyancer you choose is going to work for you, they are going to offer you the best service and get the transfer completed in the shortest period of time without any problems.

In some cases the seller may suggest you use their conveyancer to complete the transaction, while there is no problem with this moving forward, you may want to hire your own conveyancer to work on your behalf. This is something you will need to decide before placing an offer on your first property.



Fridaysmove offer top conveyancers and surveyors from across the country who are on hand to help you buy your first property or protect you when bidding on an auctioned property.