Engel & Völkers
  • 3 min read
  • 26.01.2018

Old house, new house: which is the better investment?

When it comes to buying a house, some prefer period charm and eclectic detailing, while others seek out efficient appliances and that pristine, move-in condition. We've mapped out the advantages and potential investment concerns of both. Here’s what to look out for when navigating the 'old house, new house' debate.

The advantages of buying a new build

Sparkling and untouched, newly built homes offer several distinct advantages for buyers. Some come equipped with the latest technology, such as energy-saving features like smart appliances, solar panels, app-controlled security features and even electric vehicle charging stations. As well as looking sleek, these details can save sizeable amounts on utility costs over time. When it comes to efficiency, new builds generate 60% less CO2 emissions per household. 

New homes also offer the advantage of providing a clean slate for interior décor, as well as appliances. Buyers may be able to choose from personalized wall colours, room layouts and other add-ons, and look forward to making their own distinctive mark once settled in. 

What's more, it’s often easier to get a mortgage when buying a new build. This is because developers sometimes have an in-house financing department, which can help ease the process and cut out extra parties. 

Another point to consider when choosing between an old house and a new house is that you’ll face less competition from other buyers for a newly built area of housing, and are less likely to become part of a moving chain

The advantages of buying an old house

While new homes offer energy efficiency and warranties, there are also plenty of advantages to taking on mature properties. One of these is location. New developments tend to be contracted on the outskirts of town, or in areas with ongoing construction. By contrast to the new house, older houses are usually available in central, established neighbourhoods with a high walkability score. This is particularly important to millennial buyers, who are driving up property prices to the tune of 40% in highly walkable areas. Buyers often have greater negotiating power with existing properties as well. Prices can be influenced by property condition and consumer demand, giving room for negotiations. 

Yet it’s not just location to consider when deliberating over buying an older house. Character is what draws many buyers to these homes. Historic properties offer distinct architectural details like decorative pillars, exposed brickwork, or intricately designed ceiling roses and crown moulding. While you can design a new build to order, it won’t have these period details or the history behind them.

Investment concerns to keep in mind

Energy-saving appliances aside, it's worth noting that desirable new builds cost on average 20% more than a similar older home. However, it's hard to tell how these values will hold over time, especially as newer houses tend to be built on smaller lots or in untested locations. Old homes hold some risk as well, usually costing more in the long run due to repair and maintenance issues. It's of vital importance to research all options before making a decision using current property insights

For more information concerning real estate, the 'old house, new house' debate and first-time buying, visit our website


Stay informed

Sign up for our regular newsletter with exclusive properties, inspiration, market reports, and the latest news.

I would like to receive the exclusive newsletter from Engel & Völkers GmbH by email. I consent to the processing of my data for the purpose of regularly receiving newsletters from Engel & Völkers GmbH.
You can find out which data Engel & Völkers GmbH stores in detail and what rights you have in this context here. You can revoke your consent for the future at any time here.

You may also be interested in


Contact your personal advisor

Engel & Völkers Germany

Vancouverstraße 2a

20457 Hamburg, Germany

Tel: +49 40 361310