When searching through Singapore real estate websites such as Property Guru, new homes and new builds are particularly tempting. If you intend to stay in your home for a long time, it makes sense to go for a new building without any faults rather than one which will soon become rundown and obsolete. There are both advantages and disadvantages of new builds, however, some of which are listed below:
- If you buy an empty plot of land, you can customise your house fully based on your own specifications and needs. If you’ve always wanted hardwood floors or a games room or a sauna, you can finally have them. This means you can have your house built to modern specifications, making internet access available throughout the whole house, for example, which isn’t always possible in older buildings, and make it more energy efficient to cut down on the bills.
- New homes won’t require much redecoration, repairs, or inspections. You can move straight in and start setting up house without the additional expenses of broken pipes, pests, or faulty wiring which plague older houses. It will likely be several years before you have to start paying these costs, giving you more of a financial leeway for furnishing the house and paying off the mortgage. Many new homes are even being built to cut down on these maintenance costs in the future.
- Newer builds are generally much easier to sell or rent than older places. Sometimes older buildings are so hard to sell that desperate buyers let them go for far less than they are worth and lose a lot of money. If you plan to sell and move on eventually or you want to become a landlord, a new build will make this much easier.
- There is generally much more choice available with new homes and neighbourhoods that are still in development. You can either have your pick of empty plots or make an early grab for the best apartments. With existing homes, you are restricted to whatever happens to be on the market at the time.
- New homes tend to be safer, built to current standards of fire safety and to withstand floods and any other natural disasters.
- Many new buildings come with the amenities that residents need. For instance, family apartments will often have a crèche or playground on the premises, while retirement apartments will be equipped with lifts, en-suite bathrooms, and alarm systems.
- The biggest drawback of new homes is that they cost more than older buildings. Forbes estimates that they cost 20 percent more than an existing home of the same size. If you are buying or building your home as part of an investment, it will take longer for the investment to pay itself off and for you to start making a profit from it.
- Building your own home on an empty plot of land is particularly expensive and takes a long time. There is also a lot of red tape and safety regulations to cut through, and almost all of this has to be handled by the owner. Numerous unseen costs such as drainage issues or cable installation can easily eat up both your budget and your savings.
- If your home is in a new town or a neighbourhood that is still being built up, there will likely be a lot of construction around your home for years to come. Not only will this cause a lot of noise, it can cause traffic delays, there will be a significant amount of dust and debris in the air, and it could take longer before your local community is built up and you can start building connections with your neighbours. Established neighbourhoods will already have this community feeling.
- You might have noticed that many new builds are often built to the exact same blueprint and specification with little variation to them. This makes building easier, but lacks the ‘character’ and originality of older neighbourhoods. The Homeowners Alliance cited this lack of charm as one of the main reasons why people avoid new builds.
- New homes may be mostly free from disrepair, but many are poorly built or have issues that aren’t visible on initial viewing. The visual appeal of new homes can make buyers forget or overlook these things, costing them after they move in.
- Due to a lack of space, many new homes are much smaller than older homes, despite costing more, and have less storage space or smaller gardens.
Putting all of these positives and negatives together and thinking carefully will help you to make an informed decision on which type of house or flat is best for you. While house hunting, it is best to look at several different homes, both new and old, to get an idea of what is available and what could work out best for you and your budget.