Comparing New vs. Established Properties in ACT

When considering purchasing a property in Canberra, one of the critical decisions buyers face is whether to invest in a newly built home or an established property. Both options have distinct advantages and disadvantages that can significantly impact the buyer's experience and investment returns. Should you buy new properties or already established ones? Below we list down the pros and cons.

Buying Newly Built Properties


Modern Design and Amenities

Newly built homes often come with the latest design trends and modern amenities. This includes open-plan living spaces, contemporary kitchens, and energy-efficient appliances. According to the Housing Industry Association (HIA), new homes are designed to meet current lifestyle preferences and technological advancements, making them highly attractive to modern buyers.

Energy Efficiency

New constructions are typically more energy-efficient due to updated building codes and the use of advanced materials and technologies. The Australian Government’s Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) indicates that new homes in Canberra often achieve higher energy ratings, leading to lower utility bills and a smaller environmental footprint.

Low Maintenance Costs

One of the significant advantages of new properties is the reduced maintenance costs. Builders usually offer warranties for structural components and appliances, which cover defects or issues in the initial years. This can provide peace of mind and financial savings compared to older homes, which may require immediate repairs and updates.

Customisation Opportunities

Buyers of new homes often have the chance to customise aspects of the property to suit their preferences. This can range from choosing the layout and finishes to selecting fixtures and fittings, allowing for a personalised living space that meets specific needs.


Higher Purchase Price

New homes tend to have a higher initial purchase price compared to established properties. Data from CoreLogic shows that newly built homes in Canberra can command a premium due to their modern features and construction costs. This higher upfront cost can be a barrier for some buyers.

Location Limitations

New developments are often situated in the outer suburbs of Canberra, where land is more readily available. This can mean longer commutes to the city centre and fewer established amenities in the immediate vicinity. Buyers prioritising proximity to work, schools, and entertainment may find this less appealing.

Construction Delays

Purchasing off-the-plan or under-construction properties can involve delays due to construction timelines. These delays can be frustrating and financially burdensome, especially if buyers need to arrange temporary housing while waiting for their new home to be completed.

Purchasing Established Properties


Prime Locations

Established homes are often located in well-developed neighbourhoods closer to the city centre. These areas typically have better access to public transport, schools, shopping centres, and other amenities. For instance, suburbs like Kingston and Braddon offer vibrant community atmospheres and convenience that newer outer suburbs might lack.

Character and Charm

Older homes often possess unique architectural features and a sense of history that new constructions cannot replicate. High ceilings, decorative mouldings and mature gardens are some characteristics that add charm and appeal to established properties.

Established Community

Moving into an established neighbourhood means becoming part of a well-defined community. This can provide a sense of stability and belonging, with existing social networks, local events, and community services already in place.

Potential for Renovation

Established homes offer the opportunity for renovations and improvements, which can increase property value and tailor the home to specific tastes. Homebuyers can undertake projects at their own pace and budget, potentially leading to significant financial gains over time.


Higher Maintenance and Repair Cost

Older properties may require more frequent and costly maintenance. Issues like outdated wiring, plumbing problems, and structural wear can necessitate significant investment to bring the property up to modern standards. These unexpected costs can add up and should be factored into the purchasing decision.

Energy Inefficiency

Established homes are often less energy-efficient than new constructions. Older insulation, windows, and heating systems can result in higher utility bills and a larger environmental impact. Upgrading these systems can be expensive and time-consuming.

Limited Customisation Options

While renovation is possible, it can be challenging to alter the fundamental structure and layout of an older home. Constraints due to building regulations, heritage listings and the existing architecture can limit the extent of customisation possible compared to a new build.

Final Thoughts

Deciding between a newly built property and an established home in Canberra involves weighing various factors, including budget, location, maintenance and personal preferences. Newly built homes offer modern amenities, energy efficiency and low maintenance but come at a higher cost and potential location drawbacks. In contrast, established properties provide prime locations, character and community integration, albeit with higher maintenance costs and potential energy inefficiency.

Ultimately, the choice depends on the buyer’s priorities and long-term plans. Thorough research and consideration of the pros and cons can lead to a more informed and satisfying property purchase in Canberra’s dynamic real estate market.