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Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

Period property or new build: where do you live in London?

28 September 2017 Simon Banks Read time: 4 min
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Simon Banks

London’s diversity isn’t solely reflected by the wonderful people who inhabit the city. The properties are pretty diverse too. From Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian houses that are hundreds of years old to shiny, plush new developments that are barely even 10 weeks old - the capital has a vast selection when it comes to the property you want to call home.

The price you pay to live somewhere often comes down to the area you desire to reside in. That means it’s highly plausible that you could find yourself in a charming period home or brand spanking new apartment for a similar price. Sometimes newer homes come with a slight premium, but the difference is often marginal, with the area itself acting as the barometer for the price.

So, which one is it? Period properties or new developments: which style of London property should you call home? Are you a sucker for charming features, or do you appreciate all the hi-tech gear often found in newer homes?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each property type.

Period pro: charming features


Fireplace with pictures and lamps on the mantle piece. Photo credit: www.diynetwork.com/


There’s no denying that older homes often have classic features, sometimes hundreds of years old. A charming fireplace, large sash windows, high ceilings, and cornicing adds to the character of a property, making it more desirable to home-hunters. Period properties have substance and history, something newer builds struggle to replicate.

Period con: they can be a bit chilly

While high ceilings create an aura of extra space and freedom, it also means there’s more room to heat up. Some period properties don’t have double glazing either, which means that you could find yourself with higher than average energy bills.  

New build pro: amenities



Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens Photo credit: www.embassygardens.com


A fair number of new builds feature a 24-hour concierge service, underground parking, residents’ gyms, swimming pools and an on-site convenience stores. With these kind of amenities, there really isn’t much need to leave the surroundings of your apartment ever again. One minute you could be watching the latest episode of the Great British Bake Off, the next you’re heading to the sauna and taking a dip in the pool.

New build con: higher service fees

New builds with on-site amenities might be wonderful, but they often come with a higher service fee. Ok, so as a tenant you won’t necessarily have to worry about that, although the landlord will aim to recoup their costs and factor the higher service charge into their asking rental. However, the extra that you pay for a new build with amenities is often marginal.

Period pro: space


Photo credit: www.valegardenhouses.co.uk


Older properties were originally built as houses and were only converted into flats in the last 50 or 60 years. As a result, most period homes have more space in them than new builds, even if they’ve been converted into apartments. As mentioned earlier, they also tend to have higher ceiling, which creates the feeling of more space.

Period con: cleaning

The larger the property, the harder it is to clean. If nothing excites you more than getting the gloves and mop out, this isn’t a problem. But if a regular cleaning session isn’t high on your priority list, a bi-daily wax and shine can certainly seem like a chore. You might need to start thinking about how necessary all that extra space really is.

New build pro: soundproofing




Some people who live in new builds might debate this, but the majority of brand new homes are sound proofed. The newer the home, the better the technology used to create it, which should result in an overall quieter living experience. While you’re never going to attain complete silence (unless you live in the woods, 10 miles from any sign of life), new builds tend to provide better soundproofing than period properties.

New build con: bland and soulless

One of the reasons many people shy away from new builds is because they all look the same on the inside and don’t exuberate any real personality. Of course, you can add your own personal touch to a property, but the layouts are often similar: open plan reception leading to a kitchen with floor-to-ceiling windows, usually opening up to a balcony. Not a massive issue, but probably not for the individualists.

Period pro: garden access


Photo credit: www.gardenista.com


Having access to a garden only applies to houses or those who rent on the ground floor, but period properties offer the chance for renters to have their own private garden. New builds, on the other hand, normally feature shared communal outside spaces.

Period pro: maintaining the garden

Maintaining the garden is usually marked in the terms and conditions of the contract. Unless a spot of gardening is your idea of a fun time, you might not be enamoured by the idea of regular upkeep. Garden access is amazing in the summer, but in the winter, when the leaves fall and the weeds come out, keeping it clean can be a laborious job to say the least.

New build pro: everything is new


New home with corner sofa Photo credit: www.houzz.co.uk


Who doesn’t like new stuff? Living in a home that no one else has ever lived in, or has had very little use, is a desirable feature, especially when you’re renting and don’t have the flexibility to decorate the place how you wish.

New build con: they’re all open plan

If you enjoy open plan living, then fear not, this is not a con for you. But there is a growing number of people who prefer to have their kitchen separated from the living room. It can be annoying when one person is trying to watch tv and the other is cooking up a masterclass just a few feet away. Get ready to turn your tv up to max.

Period pro: strong structure
Victorian property exterior

There’s a reason that period homes have been standing for hundreds of years - they are incredibly well built with strong, lasting structures. You can be confident that a period property is durable and there won’t be an array of issues with parts of the house or apartment falling down.

Period con: they’re old

Period properties might be well built, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re old, and old often means creaks and noises. It might be that there’s this one spot on the floorboard that constantly creaks every time you walk over it. Or perhaps the window is just annoyingly stiff and takes an age to open.

New build pro: cost efficient




Newer homes are built to be energy efficient, which means that you can expect to pay much cheaper utility bills than if you lived in a period property. It’s nice to know that your electricity, gas and water bills will cost less, leaving a few extra pounds in the bank each month.

New build con: snagging

Whether its because they’ve been built for quick turnover, we’re not sure, but compared to period homes, new builds just don’t have the same durability. It’s easier for tiles to crack, door frames to chip, and to experience the odd problem. However, if you take care of where you’re living, these issues are less likely to rise.  

Period or new build?

So, you’ve got the facts, you know the pros and the cons, where would you prefer to live? Are you all for the charm and character of a period property, or does brand new and fresh do it for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And don’t forget to check the latest period properties and new homes on the rental market.

Main image credit: www.embassygardens.com

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