Older homes hurting consumers

08 March 2004
Newly-moved UK homeowners spend an average £2,500 a year on unexpected repairs, but older homes are costing people excessive amounts, according to the New Homes Marketing Board.

A new survey by the Energy Savings Trust reveals that people who have just moved house spend a total £1.25 billion each year on unexpected repairs - an average £2,500 per house.

But Mick Noble, chairman of the New Homes Marketing Board, which operates www.new-homes.co.uk, suggested the costs are much higher.

"Buyers are paying a heavy price for Britain's crumbling housing stock. Although the Energy Savings Trust has revealed that buyers spend an average £2,500 on unexpected repairs, the real costs are far higher," he said.

"Recent surveys by leading DIY stores estimate average spending on DIY has now reached an annual average of £6,400 per home. This indicates that the costs of repairs and maintenance of an older home could reach £300,000 over the next 50 years.

He added: "But the costs do not end there. Heating bills for the owners of older homes are typically between four and six times higher than those for modern homes. And that means the environment is paying a high price too in terms of greenhouse gas emissions."

Mr Noble argued that UK homeowners lull themselves into a false sense of security by "literally" papering over the cracks, as well as allowing themselves "feelings of wealth created by rising house prices".

"The public is aware that lack of investment in the country's crumbling rail network has resulted in rapidly escalating costs for maintenance and patchwork repair. But the same is true for older housing," he concluded.