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    New Build or Conversion: Which is the Better Investment?

    As Manchester city centre specialists, we at Julie Twist Properties deal with a total mixture of new-build and converted properties. But which offers customers the better investment? We weigh up the pros and cons of both to help you make the right decision when buying a property in Manchester.

    Think visual appeal

    One of the major attractions of a conversion is that older buildings tend to have a host of charming features, from high ceilings and beams to traditional brick or stone exteriors and statement staircases. But new builds can be just as exciting, with cutting-edge architecture and modern, made-to-measure appliances and storage. They’re also more likely to be built with views that make the most of the skyline outside. So, which is best? Really, it’s got to be down to what suits you more. People are always going to be divided on whether old or new is best in terms of looks, so go with your gut instinct on this one.

    What about stock levels?

    One advantage of new builds is that stock is constantly being replenished as more buildings go up and more properties come to market. This means that they tend to be more readily in supply than conversions; there is only a limited number of existing buildings that can be turned into new accommodation. That said, new conversions do come to market reasonably often, though they tend to be very popular and to fly off the shelves speedily. If you want a conversion, then, you may need to play a slightly longer game, waiting for the property that’s right for you to come up.

    Is price a factor?

    As new builds tend to be easier to come by, it’s often the case that they come in a bit cheaper, in terms of cost per square foot. This again is down to supply and demand, as well as the costs of converting an existing building from something completely different into residential living accommodation. What can the shopping savvy do here to make sure they get the best value for money? Think about location. You’re more likely to get a bargainous conversion in a less popular or ‘up and coming’ area of town, whereas you’re going to pay a premium in city-centre hotspots like the Northern Quarter and Castlefield. Try widening your search radius to obtain better value for money. Where new builds are concerned, you might find that a pricier pad is actually a better investment, if the higher price tag brings with it a better fit-out and more quirky features. Thinking in the long term, a property with a special design or view is likely to retain its value better than a ten-a-penny, standard box that has been replicated thousands of times.

    There are a lot of new builds going up so try to avoid the generic white box developments where everything looks the same. It doesn’t mean you have to buy in a conversion development but even a new build can offer something different like uninterrupted views that can never be built on, outside space like a terrace, floor to ceiling windows, duplex layout etc. that’s just my option but I think if you’re looking for re-saleability you need to be thinking about unique selling points because in 5 years’ time there will be tens of thousands of new apartments. If you’ve got an apartment like a thousand other ones you’ll probably struggle to achieve the top price for it as you’ll be competing with all the other identical ones and if any of the other ones reduce their price you’ll have to follow suit.

    Consider whether the fixtures and fittings will stand the test of time

    Speaking of fit-out, you need to consider the quality of a property’s workmanship before you commit to a purchase. Some (although not all) new builds will feature identikit fixtures and fittings that are indistinguishable from development to development, and may not be of the best quality. How to avoid that trap? Be smart about your choice. Make sure you have looked carefully at all the documentation associated with the property before you go through with the sale, from the spec to survey reports. This will help you make an informed decision about which property will suit you.

    Typically, conversions are associated with more robust fixtures, due in part to the need to keep the look in keeping with tradition. But, beware: not all developers will go down the route of sturdy, traditional materials. To make a decision, then, you need to have a good look at the construction of the property, whether it’s a conversion or a purpose-built unit.

     Yes, but we still don’t know which is best!

    The answer is as simple as this: it really depends on which criteria are most important to you. You need to think about a broad range of things such as location, cost, rental yields and resale potential in order to make an informed decision about which is the best investment. While people lust after conversions, some won’t represent good value for money. On the other hand, while new builds seem to be the lower maintenance option, some will eat at your money through service charges or repairs, nonetheless. They key, then, is to do your homework before putting your hand in your pocket to invest!

    Can you have the best of both worlds?

    Many recent conversions combine the features you’d expect from traditional properties with high-tech gadgets and gizmos, providing a compromise for those who just aren’t sure whether to go old or new. If this sounds like you, look for a development that’s just been converted. You might be surprised by just how well tradition and modernity can sit side by side.

    Julie Twist Properties offers a range of converted and new-build properties for sale. Why not arrange a series of viewings with our property specialists in order to find out more about which purchase is right for you?

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