Following the steep rises in British Gas prices, Persimmon Homes has come up with an answer. Today the UK housebuilding giant put out a press release telling people to swap their current homes for new-builds.
Home owners looking to reduce this latest impact of the credit crunch on their bank balances should consider a move to a new build property, according to Persimmon Homes. Not only will purchasers save on the ongoing costs of maintenance on an older property but with new homes boasting excellent insulation they could make significant savings on their energy bills.
Uh, right. The energy bills may be lower but truly, new-builds are not the housing option of choice for thrifty misses. This is because:
- They are terribly overpriced – even more so than the rest of the market. This is why property developers have been on the sharp end of falling sales. Buying a new-build is like buying a new car: as as soon as the keys are pressed into your hand, the retail value plummets. Round here, we have newly-built three-bedroomed houses going for 50 per cent more than older three-beds.
- They are relatively poky. Generally speaking, newly-built houses have smaller rooms. And have you noticed that in many of them, there’s no storage space to speak of? I appreciate that the shrunken rooms support Persimmon’s claim that new-builds are cheaper to heat. But cramped homes at over-inflated prices don’t represent good value for money.
- They are cramped on the outside too. This seems to be a particular problem in already-established residential areas: developers buy up a meagre plot of land or half of someone’s back garden, then try to cram as many properties as they can into that space. I remember when, a couple of years ago now, a developer bought up half a back garden opposite my grandparents’ house. It was a tiny plot, overlooked by houses on every side. “Crikey”, we said, “they’ll have trouble fitting a house and garden onto that little square”. The developer, however, was utterly unfazed: less than a year later, five houses had gone up on that meagre plot. Five detached houses. They were billed as “executive homes” and went on sale for around £400,000 each. They were so squashed together, there was barely sufficient space to walk between them. I thought that nobody would be mad enough to buy those houses at those prices. I was wrong! Goodness knows what they were thinking.
- They look rubbish. Let’s face it, unless you can afford to splash out on a glass-fronted penthouse with sweeping river views – in which case, this probably isn’t the blog for you – the appearance of most modern housing in the UK is nothing to write home about. In the interests of disclosure, I should point out that my house is a thoroughly dull red brick box with a roof and four front windows. (Hey, it was cheap!) However, I’m a nut for older styles of architecture. We used to build some beautiful houses: I’m a sucker for those swooping rows of smart terraces big and small, with their heavy doors and fancy plasterwork, which generally cost a lot less than their bland, new-build equivalents.
In conclusion, Persimmon Homes’ idea is rubbish.