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Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?

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So one of the proposed ways to drop house prices is supposed to be building new ones. This I wouldn't mind if they actually built good houses, but they don't. Instead what you find is that they pack as many houses onto a plot as physically possible, sometimes so close that you can almost reach out of your window and shake hands with your neighbour. Just like London pre 1666, and we all know how well that ended.

All I ever seem to see are postage stamp-sized gardens, massively overlooked by your neighbours and with fences that an umpa-lumpa could easily look over. Add this to the build quality - the walls feel like they're made of balsa wood or cardboard so that you worry if you lose your balance and try to brace yourself against the wall, your hand will go straight through it.

Then there's the garages. At one time a garage was supposed to be a place you could put your car. New house builders seem to think that this means you can physically fit a car into the space, but don't seem to want you to be able to get out of it. For crying out loud - this isn't rocket science: Make. The. Garage. Big. Enough. To. Put. A. Car. In!

Then there's the propensity to chuck the lounge at the front of the house. If I wanted people to be able to peer in through the window to see me relaxing after a hard day's work, I'd sit in the porch. I don't. Put the dammed lounge at the back, away from prying eyes and somewhere I can look out onto a relatively private back garden. Put the kitchen at the front - you don't spend much time in there and it being at the front means you can easily watch the world going past or any visitors arriving.

But the bit that really gets my goat in all of this is that they then have the cheek to try to ask the same price for these poorly-built, tiny hellholes as a house built back in the 60's when build quality meant something and houses had gardens. Think about it a moment - if I tried to sell you a suitcase made of paper that's half as big as a normal suitcase for the same price, you'd laugh in my face. Why should a house be any different?

Not to mention that almost every high-density housing estate tends to end up being slum housing because the only people who will live there are the ones who can't afford to live anywhere better.

Personally I think that the town planners could solve this with the stroke of a pen by stipulating when they grant planning permission for a new housing estate that only a certain number of houses can be built per acre and specifying a minimum garden size and house separation.

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who cares when they double in price every 7 years?

I have a friend who has begun stripping parts of his newish build house prior to a refit - as an engineer he is outraged by the very poor quality materials and shoddy workmanship. I managed not to smirk.

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I think much of the problem is due to Government building regs.

Had an hour to kill waiting for a car to be repaired and wandered off with a friend to go and look at the show homes at a new site across the road (Shaftesbury, Dorset). Couldn't believe the size and crap layout of them - went into one which we assumed from the size of downstairs was a 2 bed starter home, but no, they'd squeezed 4 bedrooms upstairs - 1 "master bedroom" with an ensuite that you'd have to climb over the bed to get to, a "family bathroom" with no window, 2 smallish single beds, and a small room big enough for a cot but not a bed. Downstairs the "living room" was almost narrow enough for me to touch both walls at the same time, the "kitchen/diner" could only realistically fit 2 people in to eat at any time, and half of the downstairs was taken up with a massive hallway and the (now legally required?) wheelchair accessible wc. All this with a 20' x 15' garden backing on to a brick wall at the back of the communal garage block. No storage anywhere (the airing cupboard was full to the brim of solar cylinder and control units - not even space to hang a few items up in there).

WTF are people who buy these monstrosities thinking?

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So one of the proposed ways to drop house prices is supposed to be building new ones. This I wouldn't mind if they actually built good houses, but they don't.

It's the same reason why there are only 10 fishfingers in a packet instead of 14. Beer is 25ml instead of 33ml. Enerygy prices. Shell just reported £4.75bn profits up 11%.

We have a corporatocracy out to bleed us dry. Less size, worse quality = higher profits.

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It's the same reason why there are only 10 fishfingers in a packet instead of 14. Beer is 25ml instead of 33ml. Enerygy prices. Shell just reported £4.75bn profits up 11%.

We have a corporatocracy out to bleed us dry. Less size, worse quality = higher profits.

Buy shares?

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who cares when they double in price every 7 years?

I have a friend who has begun stripping parts of his newish build house prior to a refit - as an engineer he is outraged by the very poor quality materials and shoddy workmanship. I managed not to smirk.

As an engineer he should have bloody spotted it a mile off.

Look out for MDF mouldings / skirting boards - one sniff of water and it is trash.

Paper core doors - tiny thin skin of material and paint over a matrix of carboard (an eggbox probably has more material by volume/weight).

Thin plasterboard.

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"Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so": Bertrand Russell

They knocked down two bungalows and built 7 houses on a plot near me, backing right onto a busy railway line.

'4 bed terrace' for £450k when the top floor rooms are mostly eaves leaving only a small patch in the middle of the room you can stand up in. No storage (as above) and 'open plan' so cooking smells are inescapable.

And three out of seven have sold! The 'big one' at the front (over £500k) - it's an L-shaped arrangement - just sold for the second time after it didn't survey up the first time. Saw the surveyor out yesterday be interesting to see what happens to the board in the next few days. :P

Big front one is the only one with double garage the rest have none or a single.

Rental value is probably about £1400 a month, mortgage has got to be double that surely ... totally nonsensical.

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Up until this year there was a MINIMUM density of 30 dwellings per hectare. This means there should be 12 dwellings on the plot of my house which admittedly has a monstrously large garden (1 acre total space).

Short answer is Labour's socialist policy of making everyone equal meant that houses of old with their plots simply weren't permitted as they had too much space in their eyes.

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They knocked down two bungalows and built 7 houses on a plot near me, backing right onto a busy railway line.

'4 bed terrace' for £450k when the top floor rooms are mostly eaves leaving only a small patch in the middle of the room you can stand up in. No storage (as above) and 'open plan' so cooking smells are inescapable.

And three out of seven have sold! The 'big one' at the front (over £500k) - it's an L-shaped arrangement - just sold for the second time after it didn't survey up the first time. Saw the surveyor out yesterday be interesting to see what happens to the board in the next few days. :P

Big front one is the only one with double garage the rest have none or a single.

Rental value is probably about £1400 a month, mortgage has got to be double that surely ... totally nonsensical.

Yep, full circle. In the early 60's they demolished 6 farm slave worker cottages and built my house.

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Buy shares?

The return to shareholders diminished when corporate greed increased.

FTSE bosses take bonuses based on their share performance against a specially selected group of companies. Their own company maybe be failing but they are rewarded as long as they can pick a bigger failure.

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I've said it before - all the major "housebuilders" are nothing more than landbanking firms.

Maximising the land bank means paying the absolute minimum on anyting that happens to be built on the space. One of the reason politicos are in the pocket of these companies - they implement the regs that allow this. The politicos themselves are also in league with movements like Agenda 21. They actually despise the core population - they must do for foisting this shit on them.

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You should see how the lashed in the services are in these structures (I struggle to think of them as houses/homes, more like placeholders in line with the landbanking comment above)

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My brother's house is a case in point; it is built over 3 floors (great for toddlers) with most of the ground floor taken up by a garage he can't put his Ford Focus in. The bedrooms are all on the topmost floor, the master bedroom (en-suite) is fairly large but the other two rooms are tiny. The kitchen and sitting room are on the middle floor but the kitchen is a really bad design with the way the fridge, cooker and sink are situated so there is very little space suitable for cutting and slicing of food when cooking. The main bathroom (sans window) did not come with a shower hose which will means anyone who needs a shower has to go through the master bedroom and there will be extra expense of fitting a shower attachment in a few years time. The ventilation is also poor, either it's hot and stuffy or if you open a window, papers get blown everywhere and it's freezing within minutes.

There are a number of 60s and 70s estates immediately next to where he lives (so the same catchment areas for schools and no difference to the commute etc.) which have bigger, nicer houses and gardens on the market for thousands less than he paid. His reason for buying the house he did was some sort of interest free gifted deposit jiggery pokery.

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"Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?"

Because they are built for the maximum profit and convenience of the builder.

My wife and I were just discussing this the other night watching Grand Designs (she is an ex-architect), why, when most people who buy a new car customise it extensively and get it built to order, do most people take an "off-the-peg" home?

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As an engineer he should have bloody spotted it a mile off.

Look out for MDF mouldings / skirting boards - one sniff of water and it is trash.

Paper core doors - tiny thin skin of material and paint over a matrix of carboard (an eggbox probably has more material by volume/weight).

Thin plasterboard.

You say that but I work for a large engineering company and yet the car park is full of French cars. Go figure.

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"Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?"

Because they are built for the maximum profit and convenience of the builder.

My wife and I were just discussing this the other night watching Grand Designs (she is an ex-architect), why, when most people who buy a new car customise it extensively and get it built to order, do most people take an "off-the-peg" home?

Go to France - you see biulding plots advertised - you contact the builder/architect and selecct from a numbmer of plans and plot you want.

In the UK mass (joke) housebuilding is all about squeezing every last penny for the absolute minimum of house - you have no choce as all the other big companies play the same game. It is a cartel, one backed by the politicians and the banks to serve THEIR interests to ******ing hell with yours.

Edited by OnlyMe

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It's the same reason why there are only 10 fishfingers in a packet instead of 14. Beer is 25ml instead of 33ml. Enerygy prices. Shell just reported £4.75bn profits up 11%.

We have a corporatocracy out to bleed us dry. Less size, worse quality = higher profits.

Exactly what I was thinking. The fall in housing quality is called inflation. Inflation is good for elites, it lets them charge you more of your labour time for a worse product.

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As an engineer he should have bloody spotted it a mile off.

Look out for MDF mouldings / skirting boards - one sniff of water and it is trash.

Paper core doors - tiny thin skin of material and paint over a matrix of carboard (an eggbox probably has more material by volume/weight).

Thin plasterboard.

I did say I managed not to smirk. It seemed obvious to me anyway, and I'm no engineer.

To be fair to him, he is fairly specialist, I think he is most like a physicist than an engineer.

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"Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?"

Because they are built for the maximum profit and convenience of the builder.

My wife and I were just discussing this the other night watching Grand Designs (she is an ex-architect), why, when most people who buy a new car customise it extensively and get it built to order, do most people take an "off-the-peg" home?

The problem is that you don't get the option - you either buy a slavebox from one of the volume builders, or you buy an older house. The smaller builders have either been swallowed up, or muscled out, by the big landbankers and finding a plot for self build is virtually impossible. Or it is around my way.

If it were possible, I'm sure more would do it, it would be nice to see the back of the identikit estates across the country, but until the monopoly of the likes of Redrow and Persimmon is broken, and the planning system altered, I can't see it happening. It still amazes me that people are happy to pay very large sums of money for houses that are, effectively, total crap.

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is it just me or are the roads getting smaller as well? the estate where I live has a mixture of flats and houses, again quite small garages and only 1 space each for the flats meaning everyone's 2nd and 3rd cars are on the road, I can't imagine what would happen if a fire engine needed to get to the flats..

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Also the idiocy of the British home-buying public, in valuing homes by the number of ‘bedrooms’ that they have, plays a large part. If, like the rest of the world, we could start valuing homes by their floor area – even better, actually advertise and price new homes per square metre (or foot if you want to be old-fashioned) – then the incentive on housebuilders to cram as many tiny rooms in as possible would be largely eliminated.

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Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish? Tiny, tiny garden, poor build quality
It's because the land is so expensive to buy. To be able to sell the houses and still break even they have to squash as many on as possible and build them out of ticky-tacky. The average new-build cost per unit is ~£24,500. The rest of the cost is land. And the builders are still struggling to sell at a profit.
I think much of the problem is due to Government building regs.
No it's the cost of the land.
They knocked down two bungalows and built 7 houses on a plot near me, backing right onto a busy railway line.
And they will still have made just a pittance because they will have had to pay a lot for the bungalows/land.
Up until this year there was a MINIMUM density of 30 dwellings per hectare.
The only thing that would do is stop a millionaire building one big house one it. Any builder, in order to compete with local prices, has to build as many as they can get away with, because they will have had to pay a lot for the land.

Most of the builders got massively stung just before the peak. All the experts said prices would go up forever, so on that basis the builders needed to buy as much land as they could before it went up in price more, and before all their competitors beat them to it. (A house builder without land, is, after all, just a toolshed.) The land speculators sold all their land to the builders at the peak making a mahoosive profit. Now the builders are left with a load of overpriced land that they can't make a profit on. They are building houses and selling them at a loss just to try to recover some of the money they have locked up in the land.

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(A house builder without land, is, after all, just a toolshed.)

And building should, after all, be their core competence, not land speculation. They clearly aren't any good at the latter, and seem to have forgotten how to do the former. Not fit for purpose whichever way you look at it.

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The price of land is determined by a percentage of the final value of the homes that the land has planning permission for. Minimum density rules forced the hands of councils to grant permission for ever more units on the same amounts of land. Landowners who seek permission before selling their land obviously try to get as much as they can, so apply for permission for multiple smaller units. It is therefore not often the fault of builders as they often buy land which someone else hat got permission on. During the boom many builders over-paid assuming the market would have risen enough by the time they had built the new homes.

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