New versus old: The good, bad and the ugly about new and old housing

HOME BUYERS looking for their dream home have plenty of choice now a days.

They can pick up a new house and land pairing at any one of a number of estates in Melbourne’s major growth corridors. Or they can opt to buy an established property in one of Melbourne’s more settled suburbs.

Most first home buyers – about 60 to 70 per cent – select the latter for a variety of reasons including convenience and closeness to friends, family as well as community services such as transport, shops and schools.

Those choosing to buy a new home and land combination – many of them migrants – also want to be close to services, but prefer to live in a home they have helped to shape. It’s something they dreamed of before coming to Australia.

Property industry figures can convincingly argue the case for both old and new, but buying a home and land pairing in a new estate has many advantages including generally better pricing, greater energy efficiency, lower maintenance, more contemporary fixtures and fittings as well as better integrated living spaces including covered alfresco (attached outdoor) zones.

Master Builders Association of Victoria chief executive officer Radley de Silva says new home and land packages compare favourably with the more established counterparts because they are low maintenance, have greater energy efficiency (six-star energy ratings) and have new appliances, finishes and furnishings.

“Buying a new home is an advantage for young and old alike who don’t want to worry about the time and cost of repairs and maintenance,’’ Mr de Silva says.  “An old home is often less energy efficient than a new home, which can also cost you money. The appliances and insulation will all be new and more energy efficient than older accessories.

“The added advantage of purchasing a new home off the plan is that you can tailor it to suit your personal style and needs. An old home is someone else’s dream but a new home can be yours.”

Real Estate Institute of Victoria communications, policy and public affairs managerPaul Bird says the majority of first homebuyers continue to opt for existing home and land pairings because they offer proximity to all the things they love including family, friends, sporting clubs and other established community infrastructure.

“Buyers often tend to seek an established home in a good location – close to good schools, transport and (Melbourne) central business district workplaces – ahead of buying further from Melbourne,’’ Mr Bird says.

“Established homes are often well regarded as they tend to have character features and, like the home, have an established garden and are surrounded by similar, neighbouring homes.

“These homes are often located in inner and middle suburbs, which ensures that they draw strong interest from buyers when they go to market.

“The main exception to this rule is for new homes in inner suburbs – which, increasingly, are fetching high prices.’’

At a glance

The top five reasons to purchase a new home

(i)    Low maintenance: Your new home should not require you to do the amount of repairs or maintenance as an old home would.

(ii)             Home warranty insurance is included and applies for six years from the date of completion on incomplete or defective works, and for two years for non-structural defects (such as paint work) if your builder dies, disappears or becomes insolvent.

(iii)           All appliances, finishes and furnishings are new.

(iv)           Energy efficient. All new homes must be built to a 6-star energy rating.

(v)             If you purchase a property off the plan, you can often customise parts of the home to suit your style and your needs.

Source: (Master Builders Association of Victoria)

By Andrew Brasier

Published in The Indian Weekly (First Weekly Indian news Magazine in Melbourne, Australia)