This chart at Calculated Risk shows new and existing house sales tracked perfectly for years but diverged about a year before the economic downturn. Now, at lower levels, existing houses sales are down a third while sales of new houses are down two thirds. They are better value. Is this just because of distressed sales? The downturn precedes the economic bad news. New housing often bears charges for schools, services and roads in the the neighborhood, higher permit prices, and may include up-market features like granite countertops that the market is willing to do without for now. The discussion "Rent or Buy?" has merit but "New or Old?" is a no-brainer.