When buying a property, most first timers’ financial focus is on the deposit, legal costs and other fees involved, while running costs, especially energy bills, are often overlooked. You may be surprised at how much you can save by buying a new build >>
If you’re thinking about buying a property for the first time, it’s worth considering the latest news from the New Homes Building Council (NHBC) and the Zero Carbon hub, which says that those buying a brand-new home, built to 2013 standards, could save up to £1,400 a year in energy bills compared to buying an older property. Furthermore, according to leading housebuilder Barratt Homes, this annual reduction could equate to a saving of at least £35,000 over the lifetime of a typical 25-year mortgage.
The research concludes that in 2014 the gap between energy costs for a Victorian property and a newly built home will be over 50%. It predicts that, at £1,410 a year, a new home will be 57% cheaper to run compared to the £2,460 for an older property. The figures are based on the price hikes announced by the ‘big six’ energy companies at the end of last year, averaging 8.1%.
Mike Quinton, chief executive at NHBC, says: “This new analysis of a typical family’s energy spend clearly underlines that new build homes are vastly more energy efficient than older stock and can actively save money on utility bills. Given the recent price hikes announced by the majority of the ‘big six’, these savings calculations could be the tip of an iceberg.
“While energy efficiency is only one of the advantages of buying a new build house, the potential to make this level of savings year after year could be a crucial factor for families when making their decision on which home to purchase.”
What makes a new home much more energy efficient?
Apart from the obvious energy saving features that a new home has to offer such as double-glazing and airtight floorboards, new homes built to 2013 standards are built differently. This is set to improve further, with the government confirming that new homes constructed after April this year will be subject to even stricter energy efficiency requirements.
Gary Ennis, Southern Regional Managing Director for Barratt Homes, comments: “New homes today are considerably more energy efficient than older properties in both the way they are built and the way they are run. Legal construction standards mean that new homes are designed and built with more efficient materials and building methods than ever before, and this is expected to continue to improve as regulations continue to tighten.”
Looking ahead to 2016, the government is expected to impose a zero carbon policy on construction targets. This is hoped to reduce the running cost of a new home even more, meaning further savings should be made.
Other benefits to buying new
As well as cheaper running costs, buying a new property can offer many cost savings that first time buyers may find financially appealing.
One of these is the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which allows homebuyers to buy a brand-new home with just a 5% deposit. In addition to requiring less upfront costs, the scheme means more affordable monthly mortgage repayments can be accessed (75% loan-to-value). Help to Buy was launched last year and has already helped thousands of people buy a new home.
Ennis adds: “New homes offer many advantages to those looking to buy a home on a tighter budget. As well as offering great financial assistance upfront to actually buy a property, the running costs are proven to be much cheaper. Furthermore, many housebuilders offer warranties on fixtures and fittings as well as structural guarantees, which older properties don’t provide. At Barratt, we offer five years peace of mind on all fixtures and fittings, which includes everything, from the boiler to the washing machine breaking down.“
BENEFITS OF BUYING A NEW HOME
»» Purchasing assistance – more help to buy a new home for less upfront cost
»» Peace of mind – guarantees on all fixtures and fittings
»» Lower bills – lower heating, electricity and water bills
»» New appliances – everything’s new, so less likely to break
»» Safe and sound – new homes can be safer and more secure than older properties
»» Brand new – you are the first person to have lived in your home
»» Less stress – property chains less likely to collapse and a speedier process
WHY NEW HOMES CAN MEAN ENERGY SAVINGS
»» More efficient insulation
»» Double- or triple-glazing
»» Low energy lighting systems
»» Brand new and low energy AA or AAA white goods
»» Solar panels for hot water
»» Ground source heat pumps
»» Air source heat pumps