Today’s New Homes Can Be as Economical as Existing Homes


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By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

     Investing in a state-of-the-art new home in a new home community can be as economical as buying an existing home, thanks to ongoing innovations in developing and manufacturing the components that make up today’s new home inventory.

Today’s new homes are built to last longer than any homes in history, and that makes them a better value. For example, according to a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Bank of America Home Equity Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components, all types of modern insulation in your new home can be reasonably expected to last a lifetime if they are properly installed and protected against punctures, moisture and ultraviolet rays.

     Windows - often the most exposed components of a new home --  can last decades if properly maintained. The study found that aluminum windows could be reasonably expected to last up to 20 years while wooden windows can last upwards of 30 years.

      Thanks to scientific advances in paints and coatings, today's home exterior paint can last up to two decades.

     While the life expectancy of a roof depends on local weather conditions as well as appropriate maintenance, the study found that slate, copper and clay/concrete roofs could be expected to last more than half a century. Roofs made of asphalt shingles should last for about 20 years and fiber cement shingles should last about 25 years.

     Longer-lasting components are also important when weighing choices for a new home versus existing home because according to data provided by the United States Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 2011 American Housing Survey, utility, maintenance, property tax and insurance costs vary depending on the age of the structure. The study found that homes built before 1960 have average maintenance costs of $564 a year, while a home built after 2008 averages $241. Similarly, operating costs average nearly 5 percent of the home's value for pre-1960 structures, while they average less than 3 percent when the home was built later than 2008. 

     The study compared the first year after-tax cost of owning a home by the year the house was built, taking into account the purchase price, mortgage payments, annual operating costs and income tax savings. This data showed that a buyer can afford to pay 23 percent more for a new house than for one built before 1960 and still maintain the same amount of first-year annual costs. While mortgage payments will be greater with the higher purchase price of a newly-built home, the lower operating costs mean the home buyer will have annual costs that are about the same as if they'd bought a lesser-priced, older home with a smaller mortgage payment and higher operating expenses.

     One of the most important cost-saving aspects of purchasing a new is that new homes are stocked with the latest in  in energy-saving appliances which can be depended on to deliver the services they're supposed to for a long time. Factor in the long-term savings on water - conserving irrigation systems and landscapes; and energy - saving dishwashers, central air-conditioning and heating units, and its clear how those savings add up to a major benefit of new homeownership. So, if you are considering purchasing a home, consider the additional long–term savings and peace of mind that comes with knowing that your brand new appliances will be there when you need them and work to your highest expectations. Your water heater, furnace, air-conditioning and irrigation systems are protecting your environment inside and out. 

     Today's new home is built to last and that is yet another reason we call homeownership “the American Dream.” Homeownership transforms our most basic expense into what is for most Americans the biggest and best investment they will ever make and today homebuyers can avail themselves of the comfort, safety and security of a newly constructed home at about the same level of investment as an existing home.