Is it better to build new or buy an existing lifestyle block? 
March 2023

Is it better to build new or buy an existing lifestyle block? 

So you’re in the market for a new lifestyle property, but you’re not sure if you should find one that is already established - or start completely from scratch?

There’s pros and cons for each option, and it’s about working your way through them to find the best solution for you and your family.

Building a new lifestyle home

From the colour of the carpet, to the exterior cladding and bathroom fixtures and fittings - when you’re building new, you get to have a say in everything that goes into your home. So it’s understandable that this option is so appealing to many. But of course, there is a bit more to it than that.


  • Having a lifestyle home custom-built for your family is the dream of many. You can design it to your specifications, as well as planning for the future, and you know you’re getting a warm, dry, comfortable home to enjoy.
  • Most builders will offer an extensive warranty, providing security and peace of mind should anything happen with the home. You’ll also have little to no maintenance costs for a long time.
  • When a new home is complete, it almost always appreciates in value due to the nature of capital gains, providing you with greater equity (and borrowing power).


  • Building can take time. So if you’re wanting a lifestyle property yesterday, waiting for the process of design, consents and construction could be too long of a wait - especially when there are a lot more considerations for building rurally.
  • The cost of building can fluctuate, and the price of materials has dramatically increased over the past few years. This may mean you have to expand your budget substantially.
  • It could be difficult to find a vacant site in the location you want to build your lifestyle property. So building new may limit your options.

Buying an already established lifestyle property

When you buy a lifestyle property that is already set up and ready to go - you don't have to wait for building consents, worry about weather delays or face the prospect of blowing the budget. You can simply move in and get to work making it your own. While that’s one aspect of buying an existing lifestyle property, there’s a few other things to consider too.


  • In popular lifestyle locations it can be difficult to find vacant land, so with an existing home you’re able to expand your options considerably.
  • While the cost of building new has little to no wiggle room, the price of an existing house does. You will have the opportunity to negotiate, and depending on the state of the property market, you might get a really good deal.
  • You can move in ASAP! While there needs to be time for settlement to take place, you may only be waiting four to six weeks before being able to get set up in your new home.


  • It may take some time to make the home and property your own. This could include renovations or refurbishments, or simply adjusting it so it’s fit for purpose.
  • With older homes there is more likely to be ongoing maintenance, requiring time and money to remedy.
  • Homes built more than 10 or 20 years ago will not be as warm and dry as houses built now. This is because the building code has changed considerably over that time, ensuring modern homes provide comfortable and safe living environments for people.


We’ve been helping people buy lifestyle property throughout New Zealand for many generations and we’d love to help you achieve your lifestyle dreams by uncovering the best option for you. Speak to one of our regional experts in a PGG Wrightson Real Estate office today.


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