Landscaping could go either way. Some new homes come pretty bare, requiring lots of expensive planting. An old home might offer the pleasure of an established garden and fully grown trees. On the other hand, it can cost thousands to take down trees that have become too large or decrepit. So the landscaping issue has to be evaluated case by case.
Taxes may be different as well. Many communities go decades between property appraisals, so that older homes are valued at less than comparable new ones, which are appraised when they are finished.
The condition of the surrounding properties is also a factor. In a new development, all the homes are likely to look pretty good, helping to maintain values, while conditions can be spotty in an older neighborhood. Be careful, though, about buying in a development that is not yet complete, as builders sometimes go bust and leave big messes and half-finished structures that undermine values.
Finally, consider the “opportunity cost” for the savings that could be invested if you bought a cheaper existing home. That money could grow faster in the stock market or other investment than it would if put into a new home, and it would be easy to get at for other purposes. Of course, if existing homes are cheaper, you could buy more home by choosing used over new.
In the end, the choice may come down to personal preference. But before committing, be sure to compare both types of homes in the same market. Before buying the older home, ask the appraiser what expenses are likely to come up in the next few years. And ask the sellers of both types of home to show you bills for the past year’s heating and cooling costs.