What property type has the most kerb appeal for potential buyers? Which homes pass the 'drive-by' test, and which ones would buyers avoid at all costs if they had the luxury of supply outstripping demand (and the luxury of being able to get a mortgage on any home they liked)?
The answers might surprise you. Recent research* by Strategic Land Group reveals that the property type that has the most appeal to house hunters is... (drum roll...) a new build – but a new build with a difference. What prospective home owners want is a new build property with character, human scale, and a design that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Of course, there are more practical reasons why many would-be home owners prefer a new build: the absence of need for costly renovations the most prominent among them; also, a new build gives a home owner the confidence that the plumbing won't need replacing six months down the line; and that they won't have to work too hard at redecorating the property to their personal taste.
However, it is clear that this doesn't mean that people are content with just any home that's brand new. Asked to rate a selection of newly built properties by a range of developers, the respondents gave a firm preference to contemporary, striking designs that maximise natural light and the use of natural materials.
Contemporary homes that nod to more traditional home styles also proved popular, especially where the use of high-quality materials is apparent. The idea of living in a period-style home without the issues affecting older properties is clearly a bonus.
And which properties didn't fare so well? Generic new builds by the big developers such Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon proved the least popular. Not only are generic new developments perceived to be less desirable, but house hunters also anticipate that they'll be difficult to sell.
Paul Smith, MD of Strategic Land Group, says, 'New builds are consistently popular – buyers value the ease of moving into a brand-new home ready to put their own stamp on it, and the knowledge that they won’t be facing repair work or renovation works that often comes with older properties.
'However, buyers do want to know that they are making a sound investment and unfortunately new homes aren’t built equal – buyers will be wary of purchasing a property that they might struggle to sell down the line; kerb appeal is an important factor and can make or break a sale.'
'It’s clear that contemporary homes are most popular with house-hunters, closely followed by traditional properties with more unique features – not architect designed, but not an identikit property. There’s really a question as to whether people want to live in identikit homes that all look the same and lack any individuality – the research suggests that they’re not considered desirable so when supply catches up with demand, we may well find that sales of those homes begin to slow'.
*A poll of more than 900 people.