New-build properties generally sell for more. But how much more?
Latest data from Land Registry's House Price Index puts the average new build selling at £87,015 more than the average existing property in England and Wales. Looking at the numbers this way, the new-build premium is 33.5%.
But how does this number vary across the country? And how does it look when we compare on a price-per-square-foot basis?
We've updated our new-build premium data to the latest available – Q2 2021. And the results surprised us.
New-build premium (£/sqft) – quarter by quarter
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New-build premium (£/sqft) – annual
Before we go further – a quick note. Land Registry's data is always in flux and being updated. While this is the latest data available, not every record of sale has been added for Q2 2021. Expect the heatmap to become more filled with our next update.
1) The price-per-square-foot premium is far lower than the oft-quoted premium
When we looked at the data on a price per square foot basis, we saw that the new-build premium was drastically lower than the number quoted at the beginning of this article.
In the Q2 2021, existing properties sold for £271.47/sqft, while new-builds sold for £289.35/sqft. This put the new-build premium at £17.88/sqft or 6.6% for England and Wales.
If new builds are mostly built and sold in areas of high demand – London and the South East, then they would be squeezed for square footage compared to existing properties sold all over England and Wales.
2) The price of new builds has been going up, but the premium has been going down
House prices have been going up the past few years (especially in the past year), so it's no surprise that the price per square foot for new builds has also gone up – £266.59/sqft in 2019 to £286.37/sqft in 2021 (so far). A 7.4% rise.
But existing properties have gone up faster – £240.70/sqft in 2019 to £273.55/sqft in 2021 – a 13.6% rise. Almost double that of new builds.
This has meant that the new-build premium has been falling from 2019. The overall new-build premium for England and Wales in 2019 was 10.75% or £25.88/sqft. In 2021 it's 4.69% or £12.82. (This could change when all the data for 2021 has come in).
The average new build might be selling for more, but when compared by price per square foot, the premium of new builds is starting to slow down.
3) The highest new-build premium local authorities (by %)
In Q2 2021, the highest relative premiums – so the biggest percentage gap between new build and existing properties – were in the North West and North East.
- Burnley (+115.68%)
- Middlesbrough (+89.44%)
- Pendle (+82.96%)
This marks a shift from the highest relative premiums being in Wales in 2019. Neath Port Talbot (+90.75%), Merthyr Tydfil (+90.08%), and Rhondda Cynon Taf (+87.65%) were the three highest relative new-build-premium authorities two years ago.
Are developers moving on from Wales to the North in search of new-build profits? Only time will tell.
We'll have a more accurate picture of the data next quarter.
4) The highest new-build premium local authorities (by £/sqft)
As well as looking at the highest relative premiums, it's worth looking at the highest absolute premiums – the actual £ value differences.
These are mostly located in London due to its high house prices, but there's an exception to the rule here:
- Hackney (+£302.84/sqft)
- Harrow (+£300.49/sqft)
- Bath and North East Somerset (+£254.54/sqft)
This is the first time a local authority not in London or the South East has scored in the top three highest absolute new-build premiums.
With the shift in remote working, is the South West becoming a more attractive region for developers? It's one to watch as we update the data.
5) Authorities to watch
Burnley kept coming up in our analysis. It had the highest relative premium in 2020 (+115.71%), and the second-highest premium in 2021 (+120.23%).
It's hard to decipher why – they were 392% above their targets in 2020 and have been building fewer homes, facing a 34.3% drop in new homes built between 2019 and 2020.
So demand is low, and house building is slowing down, but new builds are still at a premium. Let's see if this continues in our next update.
As mentioned above, Bath and North East Somerset, and the South West in general, are areas to watch. Shifting homeworking trends, and the rise in house prices might mean the best absolute premium to be made from new builds will shift from the South East to the South West.
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As we said earlier, the latest data doesn't paint a complete picture, as Land Registry is constantly updating its records.
But what it does show is that the UK needs more housing, and those who build it can stand to make a tidy profit.