Right now, in most markets, I would have to say an existing home is likely to be a better deal.
There are so many houses on the market, and really good deals are available.
The construction industry is struggling, and you might be able to find some deals on construction, but construction materials are expensive, so it's probably a tradeoff. Also, you don't want to just go with the lowest bidder.
Of course, there are other reasons to build new. You can create exactly what you want, although keep in mind that it will be a significant time investment working with your builders and other contractors. If you believe time is money, then that is another consideration.
in this economy ,,remodel,,good luck
All depends on the money you have in the bank. Not sure about VA, but in NJ they do not make loans on land alone, or when they do you must put a sizable down payment on it and have stellar credit score. There has to be some additional value to it. Even if the home on it must be torn down because of being condemned they will consider loan. But raw land, I doubt it.
Remodel is quite often the best bet. Again in NJ if you go that route, not sure in your state, if you tear the house down and leave the flooring structure on the block foundation wall, its consider a remodel and new home tax rate will not come into play. If you remove the floor joists and start as though you just had the foundation installed. Your home is considered New and you will be taxed as though you constructed from scratch. Oftentimes raising your taxes quite high on the property. I know this sounds nuts, but that is how it works here. And people wonder why everyone is moving out.
To expand on Steve's comment a bit...building from scratch...or doing a very extensive remodel can help when it comes to designing for energy conservation. Building smaller can also help. There is a type of home called "passive haus" that uses just a fraction of what a typical energy star home might use. When done right a smaller home built to these standards can save 10's of thousands over their lifetimes.
I have to agree with Steve on this. With the housing market in the state it is, it is probably much cheaper to buy an existing home. Foreclosures are all over the place, which even drives down the prices on non-foreclosure sales. If you spend a little bit of time looking around and doing your research, you can come up with a great deal for a great home.
Existing is 100% the right answer on this question. I see appraisals everyday and the one constant is that the rebuild is always higher than the market value.
Definately with a weak housing market you can get a much better deal purchasing an existing home!