Britain has spoken – old homes are better than new builds

Original features and period character overwhelmingly top homebuyers’ wish lists, according to a new survey

Georgian period home
(Image credit: Brent Darby)

If you were buying a new home, what would you look for? Clean lines and unblemished surfaces in a highly insulated modern shell, or bags of character and original features in a love-worn building that’s a little rough round the edges? According to a recent survey, the overwhelming majority would go for the latter, with 82 per cent stating they would prefer to buy a period property over a new-build house.

The survey of 1,000 UK adults, conducted by Discount Flooring Depot, also revealed that the main reason Brits would rather invest in an old home is because of its original features, with 51 per cent citing this as the motivating factor.

‘Despite the incentives in place for first-time homebuyers to purchase new-build properties, it’s clear from the research that period homes still top the wish list for British homebuyers, as they tend to benefit from great locations, offer much more space inside and out, plus include a variety of beautiful original features,’ says Paula Gray, designer at Discount Flooring Depot.

Row of Victorian terraces

According to the recent survey, 82 per cent of Brits would rather live in a period home for its character and original features

(Image credit: Getty Images)

High on buyers’ wish lists was: original windows (42 per cent); feature fireplaces (40 per cent); and real wooden floorboards or tiled flooring (37 per cent). Decorative details such as cornicing and ceiling roses are a priority for 26 per cent, and original radiators (21 per cent) completed the top five.

However, 69 per cent of those who would prefer a period property think that they will not be able to afford one. ‘These desirable period homes also come with a hefty price tag which is often way out of budget for first-time buyers,’ adds Paula. This is a blow for many millennials, as respondents aged 22 to 37 years old were most likely to prefer a period home, with 89 per cent choosing one over a new build.

Row of new-build developer houses

Many people find new-build houses to be smaller and lacking in character

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The good news is that older properties can be made more characterful. ‘There are numerous ways in which new homeowners can add character to their newer build properties,’ says Paula. ‘These include fitting sash windows, investing in real wood floors and adding cornicing.’

Melanie Griffiths
Melanie has been working in homes magazines for almost 14 years and is currently Editor of Period Living magazine. She lives the brand's ethos of creating a forever home in an old house with new ideas as she slowly improves her own rural home. When she isn't at work, Mel enjoys cooking, caring for her garden and exploring the countryside.