Last year an in-depth study revealed that over 90% of new build transactions in London were due to the sale of flats. Camden was highlighted as one of the leaders of this trend with almost all transactions in the borough being flat-related. Nearly 30% of properties listed for sale in the boroughs of Camden and Islington are considered new-builds and this is only set to rise over the next few years.
These figures demonstrate the increasing demand for properties in London, even during a period where prices have continued to rise. Terraced, semi-detached and detached houses are also still popular options in both Camden and Islington for house hunters.
There are a number of fantastic benefits you can enjoy when buying a new home, and in this guide we offer a comprehensive insight on how to approach buying a new build in Islington, Highbury and Camden.
Why Buy a New Home?
Buying a new home instead of an existing build offers a lot of advantages, such as:
- Quick start: Moving into a new home involves settling in, which takes some time. A new build makes it easier because no decorating or repairs are needed. Once your belongings are unpacked you can just focus on organising your new routine.
- Modern specs: New build homes typically come with new cookers, washing machines and more, meaning you don’t have to worry about upgrading existing appliances, saving you money in the process.
- No chain: You won’t have to worry about waiting for the seller to buy their own home. As soon as the property is ready you can move in without the stress of delays.
- Lower bills: As new builds have to meet minimum energy efficiency standards; your home will be properly insulated from top to bottom. This will lead to lower energy bills throughout the year.
- Capital appreciation: Buying off-plan or during the early stages of the build in a buoyant market is likely to mean the property is worth more than you paid for it by the time you move in.
- Property ladder: Many first-time buyers struggle to get onto the property ladder due to high prices. But thanks to a number of government initiatives for new build homes, there is help available to get started (see below).
What’s included in a New-Build Home?
When you buy a new build home, not only do you get to enjoy all of the above benefits, but it will also come with a number of add-ons.
As mentioned above, this can be appliances such as dishwashers, cookers or washing machines. Quite often the carpeting has already been laid down and you may get special features such as wooden flooring in certain areas of the property.
And because the property has just been built, it will feature either double or triple-glazed windows, along with new doors, insulated walls and a brand new roof. Even the heating system will be out-of-the-box and working to peak performance.
Things to Consider
Before making a commitment to buying a new build home it makes sense to take everything into consideration. The main factors to cover include:
- Location: You need to ensure the property gives you good access to transport links, be it by rail, road or bus and that getting to and from work and local amenities does not create more hassle and expense. If you are considering moving to Islington, Highbury or Camden, take a look at our Commuters Guide
- Size/type of property: While in recent times flats have been the most popular choice in Islington, Highbury and Camden, there are still a variety of property styles available on the market. Budget plays a key part in this, of course, but where possible consider properties that suit your lifestyle now and in the near future. For example, if you plan on having children in the next year or two, you may want to consider buying a house with one or two extra bedrooms.
- Parking: If you own one or more cars, off-road parking can be hugely beneficial in terms of access and safety. Buying off-plan (before the property is built) may give you the opportunity to secure a driveway or private parking.
- Off-Plan Property: Buying off-plan can give you a head start by securing one of the prime properties in the development. You may also be able to negotiate a discount from the developer due to the early purchase and have one or two extras added into the deal.
- Leasehold or Freehold: You should determine whether you want to buy a freehold or leasehold property. A freehold will give you full ownership of the property and land attached to it, while a leasehold means you own the property for a fixed period – usually 90 or 120 years, but this can extend anywhere up to 999 years. Leaseholds can include some property restrictions that you should be aware of, plus additional ground rent which can become expensive over time.
- Warranty: New builds typically come with warranties lasting around 10 years. Usually this covers repairs and maintenance on structural faults caused as a result of the build but be sure to check this thoroughly before committing.
- Negotiate: Always be willing to negotiate on price with developers as their sales team are usually eager to secure buyers which means you hold an advantage. A good time to aim for is when there are only a few properties left, or at the end of the financial year, as they may be more willing to close deals.
- Costs: It’s not just the property deposit you have to consider when purchasing a new build, but also additional costs. This can include things such as stamp duty, valuation fees, conveyancer and surveyor fees and removal costs, estate agent fees and removal costs.
- Delays: If buying off-plan you should be aware that delays caused by the developer can affect your move in date. However, if you get the developer to agree to a ‘long stop’ completion date, you will be able to claim compensation if they do not meet the agreed date.
Who Buys a New Build Home?
New build homes are purchased by a wide demographic. First-time buyers can use government-based schemes to get them onto the property ladder. Families in need of more space due to changes in their lifestyle find new builds to be a good match. It also applies to couples in their 50s or 60s who have raised a family and want to downsize to a one or two bedroom property in a new home.
Government Help to Buy Schemes
Due to the difficulties faced by first-time buyers struggling to afford a property in the current market, the government has introduced a number of new schemes designed to help over the past few years. These include:
- Shared Ownership: This scheme enables you buy between 25% and 75% of the home’s value if you cannot afford a full mortgage. More shares are available later if you have the money. Click here to find out more.
- Equity loan: You can take out a government loan of up to 20% of the property’s value as long as you have at least 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage. For the first 5 years of owning the property no loan fees will be applied. Go here to see full details.
- London Help to Buy: Due to the current high prices in the capital, if you purchase a new build in a London borough the government will increase the equity loan from 20% to 40%. You still need at least 5% of the deposit and a mortgage worth at least 55% of the property’s value. See here for more details.
Looking to buy a new-build home in Islington, Highbury or Camden? Get in touch with our friendly and professional estate agent team today.
Islington Estate Agent – 020 7226 0160
Highbury Estate Agent – 020 7288 9696
Camden Estate Agent – 020 7482 2894