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Could you save £500 a year by buying a new-build home?

New homes cost more than existing properties but offer greater efficiency

New-build homes can cost thousands of pounds more than existing ones, but new data shows that buyers can benefit from considerably cheaper energy bills – meaning significant savings in the long run.

New Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) research shows how people buying brand new can save hundreds of pounds each year on energy and cut down on their carbon emissions.

Here, we take a look at how energy efficiency is measured and explain the pros and cons of buying a new home.

  • If you’re buying a new property and need expert advice on finding the right mortgage, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461.

What is an EPC and why do you need one?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient a home is. It gives the property a rating of between A and G with, in theory, a lower rating meaning cheaper bills.

EPCs last for 10 years, and you’ll need to have a valid one if you’re selling a property.

According to research by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 384,000 EPCs were lodged in England and Wales in the second quarter of this year.

66,000 of these were for new-builds, a growth of 16% year-on-year.

The government recently launched a consultation into how EPCs are performing, with responses being sought until 19 October.

Energy efficiency: existing homes vs new-build

As you can see in the table below, 76% of existing homes (flats and houses combined) have energy efficiency ratings of either C or D, while just 2% are rated B.

In comparison, 81% of new properties boast a B rating, with just 7% achieving C or D.


Energy savings on new-build homes

Of course, a brand new property should be cheaper to run than an older one. So what do these figures really mean?

In the table below, we’ve detailed how much more energy efficient new-builds are in real terms.

Owners of new homes can on average benefit from a £20 annual saving on lighting, a £37 saving on hot-water costs, and a whopping £455 reduction on heating costs – that’s a total of more than £500 a year.

Property type Energy use (kWh/m2) CO2 emissions (tonnes) Lighting costs (£) Heating costs (£) Hot water costs (£) Floor area (m2)
Existing homes 285 4.36 81 725 142 89
New homes 106 1.51 61 270 105 92

Breaking down the data further, we can see that the biggest savings are to be found on new-build houses, where energy bills are more than £600 cheaper than existing houses.

Type of property Total energy saving per year (lighting, heating, water)
New-build flat £258
New-build house £627

 

New builds are bigger than existing homes

Perhaps surprisingly, the data also shows that new homes are bigger than existing properties by floor area.

Overall, new-builds average 92 square metres, while existing properties clock in at 89 square metres.

Type of property Floor area (m2)
New-build flat 62
Existing flat 57

 

Type of property Floor area (m2)
New-build house 112
Existing house 105

 

Pros and cons of buying a new-build home

Whether a new home is right for you depends on your individual circumstances, but we’ve detailed some of the broader benefits and drawbacks of buying new in the table below.

Advantages Disadvantages
New homes should come with a 10-year NHBC guarantee covering structural defects, and a two-year developer’s warranty. New homes can be significantly more expensive than existing ones.
You might be able to personalise your new home if you buy off-plan. Defects are common and not all problems will show in a snagging survey.
The Help to Buy scheme is only available on new homes. You could face disruption if you’re one of the first to move in.
You won’t have to deal with an upward chain. Service charges and ground rent can add significantly to your monthly outgoings, and you’ll need to watch out for onerous leasehold clauses.
New homes should be built to the latest specifications. Delays in construction could cause your mortgage offer to expire.
  • Find out more: get to grips with everything from buying off-plan to snagging surveys in our guides on buying a new-build home

Getting advice on your mortgage options

If you’re considering buying a new-build home, you might need a specific mortgage to do so, and some lenders will require a bigger deposit.

If you’d like to discuss your mortgage options with an expert, you can get a free call back from an adviser by filling out the form below.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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