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.



When hunting for a nice property as parents there are things you’ll be keen on looking for in your new home. So are obvious, such as schools, gardens and the area. But here are some of our top 5 alternative things to especially look for in family homes.

TIP #1: If no gardens, look for parks

Ideally, for a family home, you’ll be looking for a place with a good size garden so that your children have the option of playing outside of the house. But as there is a demand/increase in flats/apartments, families are just about missing out on gardens. So if you are one of those families, we recommend that you look into a property that is easily accessible to the local park, so that your children still are able to play outdoors.

TIP #2: Family friendly facilities and recreation centres

The rising use of technology means that this generation of children already have their recreation sorted on mobile devices. However, if you’re looking to discourage the over the use of technology as recreation for your children, then look for the possibilities of having recreation centres, family friendly cafes and facilities that are local to your forth-coming family home.

TIP #3: Well insulated homes

In order to decrease the number of runny noses and ticklish coughs, we recommend that families look for properties that are well insulated or have a good central heating system in the home, as this will help keep the warmth in during those colder miserable days that we tend to have in the UK.

TIP #4: A good kitchen

When we were looking for our family home, one thing my parents especially my mum looked for was a good kitchen and that always stuck with me. A sizeable kitchen with a well-tiled wall was on the top of her list, as families tend to do more cooking throughout the weeks that the walls become accustomed to the steam, heat and smells. So we recommend looking for a kitchen with well-insulated walls, a breathable space and also a good/replaceable air vent.

TIP 5: Good structure/sizing

Regardless of the type of property, we suggest a good sized space that will allow for children to freely express themselves throughout the home. This will decrease the number of inconveniences and also avoid that claustrophobic feeling of having furniture/storage space crowding up the place.


Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Family’ series.