The UK undeniably faces a housing crisis. It’s not just a political soundbite, it’s affecting lives. New build homes are undoubtedly part of the solution, however, is the consumer perception of reduced quality ‘lego block’ estates stopping people investing, causing them to snub new builds in favour of refurbishment projects?
81 per cent of people are “unenthused” about living in a new-build home while 79 per cent said the government should focus its efforts and funding on refurbishing existing, run-down properties. In addition, a further report this year found that there are more than 200,000 homes worth a total of £43bn lying empty across Britain. Combined with negative stories in the media relating to the quality of new builds, it’s easy to see why public attitude appears to be shifting to buying refurbished properties over new builds.
Refurbishing existing properties will only go part way to solving the crisis. Despite programmes such as Grand Designs promoting the property developer lifestyle, more often than not, these projects are not as quick or as glamorous as they seem on TV. The question is, why are new builds facing such opposition and what do we need to do to address this? Are new builds really as poorly built as media reports would lead you to believe?
With every new product, from houses and cars to toys and gadgets, there is always going to be an element of teething. Stories that create headlines, such as “Couple's dream home in country turns into 'nightmare' after finding 150 problems in new-build house”, which are filled with negative terms for new builds, understandably make potential buyers skittish to say the least. Whilst some of these instances are genuine reflections of bad building practices, one of the main barriers the construction industry has to tackle concerns perception.