Hidden horrible histories: Buyers face £70k upgrade bill for second-hand homes

27 Feb, 2023

New research reveals homebuyers could expect to fork out more than £70,000 upgrading an average property to new build standards.

Findings from the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) ‘Get on with living’ report published today, Monday 27 February, suggest many potential homeowners are significantly underestimating the costs of doing up an existing property.

The report details costs totalling £73,271.80 to bring an average 3-bed semi-detached house to new build standards. That’s despite 71% of the population expecting to set aside no more than £30k, and almost a quarter (23%) forecasting a spend between £10k and £20k.

With 85% of new homes now achieving an A or B EPC rating, vs just 4% of older homes, loft and cavity wall insulation are among the list of potential upgrades and a priority for many homebuyers. In fact, more than half of survey respondents (53%) said lower utility bills and running costs due to increased energy efficiency would encourage them to buy a new home.

Low maintenance was also identified as a key consideration for homebuyers, with 41% claiming that would encourage them to buy new. The expense of upgrades and maintenance works can quickly add up. Typical works to an average 3-bedroom semi-detached home would cost £61,489.30. When including exterior rendering and guttering, this figure increases to £73,271.80. The full breakdown of cost estimates is as follows:

  • Kitchen £10,550
  • Bathroom £5,000
  • Central heating £6,000
  • Rewiring £6,225
  • Plastering £9,250
  • Flooring £2,264.30
  • Insulation £1,950
  • Windows and doors £12,000
  • Roofing £5,500
  • Guttering £900
  • Rendering £10,882.50
  • Decorating £2,750

Neil Jefferson, Managing Director of HBF said; “This report helps to uncover the hidden savings new builds offer as a result of investment in research and more environmentally friendly building materials. This coupled with home builders’ commitments to support the government’s Net Zero ambitions means that new build homes have superior energy-efficiency performance and offer buyers significant value for money.

“Homebuyers retrofitting an older property often incur tremendous upgrade costs and disruption to their family life, not forgetting unexpected bills putting right horrible hidden histories uncovered along the way.

“In the face of mounting pressures on households, there’s much to be said for value new builds offer and the energy-bill savings energy efficient homes deliver.

The report’s release marks the start of New Homes Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of new homes and share guidance to support prospect buyers to make their move.

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, contact HBF’s communications team at media@hbf.co.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the principal representative body for private sector home builders and voice of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk
  2. The consumer research was carried out by Yonder Data Solutions between 03 February 2023 and 5 February 2023 with a sample of 2,088 UK adults.
  3. The ‘Watt a Save’ report findings are based on analysis of government Energy Performance Certificate data up to December 2022 and found that 85% of new builds have an A or B EPC rating.
  4. The ‘Get on with living’ report findings are based on average costs of upgrade works. Sources: CheckATrade: Kitchen, Bathroom Wiring, Central Heating, Insulation costs, Windows and doors, External rendering, Futtering, Roofing, flooring; PriceYourJob.co.uk: cavity wall insulation costs; HouseholdQuotes.co.uk: Plastering, Decorating

New Homes Week 2023 - Get on with Living Report FINAL.pdf

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