Rebuild vs New Build: Why homeowners are turning to demolition

Posted on Saturday, October 21, 2023

Growing numbers of homeowners are looking to rebuild rather than move to a new-build, saving themselves thousands of pounds in the process, according to new research.

Research by estate agent comparison site,, has revealed that there has been a 3.7% rise in the number of homes being demolished and rebuilt from scratch.

GetAgent analysed data on the number of property demolitions seen across England, the cost of rebuilding a property from scratch and how this compares to the cost of buying a brand new home in the current market.

The figures show that over the last decade, demolitions have become a far less common practice. Last year, just 5,680 homes were demolished across England, a 62% drop versus 10 years ago.

However, this number has increased over the last year, up 4% between 2020/21 and 2021/22, reversing a 34% annual reduction seen the previous year.

This increase has been driven by the North East, where there has been a 240% increase in properties being demolished in the last year alone, with London (+138%) also seeing a huge year-on-year jump.

So why might homeowners have turned to demolitions in the current market?

Well while house prices may have cooled in recent months, the pandemic boom has seen them climb considerably and they remain some way above their pre-pandemic peak.

Today, the average new-build property will set you back £421,005 in England, having increased by 14% in the last year - a jump of £51,292. The value of a detached home has also increased by almost £11,000 in a single year, now averaging £488,853.

This means those looking to purchase a new or larger home are facing an extremely high cost in order to do so.

In contrast, the cost of demolishing a house is estimated to sit at £32,000, while rebuilding costs for a three-bed semi-detached home sit at £295,778. Although this cost has increased by 21.3% over the last year (£51,889), it remains significantly cheaper than looking to buy a new-build in the current market at a total of £327,778.

This means that homeowners are able to not only increase the potential size of their property but upgrade it to a brand new home in the process, while still saving a considerable sum of money.

Co-founder and CEO of, Colby Short, commented:

“Demolishing your home and starting from scratch may seem like a daunting, expensive task and the cost of doing so will certainly depend on a number of factors such as size, location, professional trade requirements and so on. Not to mention the fact that you will be effectively homeless for a period of time which can cause a great deal of inconvenience.

"However, for those with the ambition to tackle such a project, it could pay dividends in the long run.

"While the cost of rebuilding a home has climbed at a similar rate to the price of the average new-build home over the last year, the overall cost of doing so does come in significantly cheaper than the cost of buying new.

"This is no doubt a contributing factor to the uptick in demolitions over the last year, with many homeowners simply unable to take the next step up the ladder due to the pandemic boom in house prices."


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