Half of adults think older homes are better than new builds

New-build homes
Sixty-three percent of respondents are ‘very or somewhat concerned’ about potential issues with new build housing

Fifty-five percent of adults in the UK believe that older homes are better quality than new builds, compared with 21% who think new builds are superior.

Almost a third (32%) of respondents to a CIOB poll on public perceptions of new-build homes described them as ‘poor-quality’.

The survey also found a lack of trust in housebuilders to build new homes to a high standard: 33% of respondents indicated they have a “low level of trust”, and 63% said they are “very or somewhat concerned” about potential issues with new-build housing.

CIOB said housebuilders have a leading role in rebuilding consumer confidence by better promoting standards and providing buyers with clear information on how they are regulated.  

The findings are part of a report by the institute exploring public perceptions of new-build homes and levels of awareness of the standards housebuilders must adhere to. It also signposts to resources when these standards are not met.

The report includes a guide for people considering buying a new-build home, informing them of the protections they have, as well as what they can do to identify issues in their home. 

Perceptions different from reality

David Parry, CIOB’s parliamentary and public affairs officer and author of the report, said that although minor snagging with new builds is commonplace, their overall quality has improved in recent years.  

“Our research shows the majority view of new-build homes is that they’re of low quality and this puts many people off from considering buying one,” said Parry. “However, the reality is that quality has improved, and new builds are, for example, generally much more energy efficient than older homes as they must adhere to more stringent regulations such as the Future Homes Standard."

He added: “Our report is designed to provide consumers with reassurance that the majority of housebuilders are signed up to a very clearly defined and high set of standards while, for those who do encounter issues, there is an ombudsman to intervene if a housebuilder fails to meet those standards and doesn’t resolve problems adequately.” 

The survey of 2,000 UK adults was conducted in September 2023 by Opinion Matters for CIOB.

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  1. A big problem with new builds is that the volume house builders are driven by profit and quality suffers as a result, e.g. omitting a skim coat to plasterboard walls much improves decoration and lowers risk of damage to walls.
    There needs to be a mindset change on quality in my opinion.

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