New homes typically have a
higher sales price than comparable existing homes, and buyers are usually
willing to spend more on a new home because of lower maintenance costs.
Builders' warranties on new homes, along with a new roof, appliances, and major
systems, usually make major repairs unnecessary and help to counter a slower
initial rate of appreciation.
A 1991 Census Bureau Housing Survey suggests that
operating costs are lowest for brand new homes, slightly higher for relatively
new existing homes, but lower on average for older existing homes. Operating
costs per square foot of living space, however, are consistently higher for
progressively older existing homes. Utility costs represent the largest factor
in operating costs. Energy consumption per square foot depends on the size of
the home, the insulation and quality of the windows, air leakage and the
efficiency of the furnace.
New homes require fewer expenditures for routine
maintenance. The cost of maintenance first increases with age, then declines, so
you will generally spend less maintaining a home built before 1960 than for a
home built between 1970 and 1975.