House Age is More than a Number
Both older and new homes have their advantages and their drawbacks. The most important part of choosing is your own lifestyle and preferences. If you have your heart set on a Victorian home in the center of downtown, you won't be happy in a tract house in the suburbs, but if you like the convenience of a modern home and hate doing maintenance, an older home needing some TLC will be a constant irritant.
New homes are often located in subdivisions in suburban areas, possibly a long commute from work and shopping. The character of newer neighborhoods tends to be uniform in age and income. These new communities often have amenities appropriate to their intended buyers, such as community centers or playgrounds. While this means you will have the opportunity to meet neighbors with similar lifestyles, the lack of diversity can be a problem for some people. On the positive side, many newer communities are well maintained with good security. Older neighborhoods are likely to be more diverse and more convenient to shopping and cultural events. Older neighborhoods often have more character and are more tightly knit than new bedroom communities in the suburbs.
Newer construction is likely to be more energy efficient, conform to better and more recent fire and other safety codes, and be technology-ready, with better electrical systems and often prewired for high-speed internet and cable. On the negative side, modern construction mostly uses 2x4 rather than 2x6 framing, dry wall rather than plaster, and plastic rather than copper piping. The exquisite construction found in older homes, with thick, soundproof walls and solid hardwood flooring, and in some houses two-foot thick exterior stone walls, rarely exists in newer construction.
A huge selling point of new construction is customization. You can choose your flooring, countertops, paint colour, appliances, and other aspects of your home. This selling point can be misleading. Many builders offer only a limited number of floor plans and upgrades. Also, contractors can do extensive remodeling on older houses, repainting, installing new flooring, and upgrading bathrooms and kitchens. Another option is a true custom home, in which you work with an architect to create your dream home from scratch, making every decision from floor plan to window placement and from placement of electrical outlets to kitchen cabinets. While pure custom homes are significantly more expensive than other types of housing, they are ideal if you have an adequate budget and strong preferences or a need for specific features not offered in other types of housing.
Older homes usually have better landscaping then new ones, with mature trees and dense hedges rather than scraggly saplings and immature shrubs. In many areas, older homes are set on larger lots, rather than crowded close to neighboring houses.
New houses are more likely to be "move-in ready", when they are ready for you to move in. Although this sounds like a strong positive, it is true only of what are sometimes called "spec homes", houses that are completely finished before you buy them, which lack the customization that is the other selling point of new homes. If a home is not completely finished when you buy it, unforeseen construction delays may leave you stranded in your old home or a hotel for weeks or months. While older houses may need some repairs and remodeling, they are completely finished, with all the essentials, such as roofs and walls and washrooms already in place.