New-builds account for less than 14% of all properties sold in England and Wales

Each year, more than 1 million Brits struggle whether to buy a brand-new home or an existing property. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages; but which prevails in the end?

To answer this question, Fasthomes.org decided to look at the Land Registry’s data of new builds sold in England and Wales. The researchers at Fast Homes analysed a total 262,981 properties that were sold in 25 major cities in England and Wales in 2016. Fasthomes.org found that new-builds accounted for 36,179 of all properties sold, which means that only 13.7% of homebuyers decided to buy a brand-new home rather than “a home with character”.

Unsurprisingly, the largest number of both new and older homes were sold in London. Of a total 73,066 properties sold in the UK capital in 2016, new-builds accounted for 14,591 or 20% of all properties sold. The situation wasn’t much better in other analysed cities in England and Wales.

On the contrary, new-builds accounted for even less than 10% in as many as 11 cities analysed: Oxford (4.3%), Cardiff (5.9%), Ipswich (6.6%), Stoke-on-Trent (6.8%), Swansea (7%), Nottingham (8.2%), Birmingham (8.7%), Leeds (9.2%), Hull (9.3%) and Southampton (9.8%).

The most popular cities aside from London are Cambridge (21%), Newport (19.9%), Exeter (18.2%) and Newcastle upon Tyne (17%).

The results of Fast Homes’ research raise the question: Why British homebuyers prefer existing properties over new-build homes?

Adrian Smith from Fast Homes commented:

“Buying an existing property offers several advantages over a brand-new home. Firstly, there is the price factor as new-builds are on average more expensive. Secondly, old homes – especially those built before 1980 tend to be bigger than new-builds. And finally, there are simply not enough new homes for everyone to buy.

According to some estimates, the UK is short of some 100,000 homes a year when it comes to the ratio between the supply and demand of new-builds. Until the gap between supply and demand of new homes closes, we can’t really expect any major changes in the housing market when it comes to new-builds vs. existing properties.”