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How Much Does it Cost to Build a House?

There’s no doubt that the UK is facing a housing crisis and new build housing is only partly addressing that crisis. One sector that is certainly easing some of the pressure is the self-build sector. Self-building has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks, in part, to a rash of optimistic TV shows dedicated to documenting the ups and downs of the process. If you are considering the prospect of designing your own home, the first question that is likely to crop up is ‘how much does it cost’?

There is, of course, no easy answer to this question; you can make a fair guestimate at how much an existing house will cost – there’s a clue in the asking price. However, there are so many variables to consider when costing a new-build that there is never one simple answer. There are, however, some guidelines that can help you get a feel for the likely costs when you design your own home.

Location and Style

Location and the situation of the site you choose will have a significant impact on the costs when you design your own home. A mansion-sized, eco-home on the side of a welsh mountain will obviously cost more than a small detached house, built on a spare part of somebody else’s garden, in Croydon.

Land costs are affected by lack of, or presence of, planning permission. Wherever it is, a plot with planning permission is likely to eat up about a third of your final build cost. However, land and planning permission out of the way, costs will rapidly diverge on that mountainside mansion and the more conventional Croydon gaff.

Insider Information

Most architects and/or builders will be able to give you a rough estimate when you approach them with the basic details of your proposed project. One of the sources that both types of firm will use is ‘Spons Architects And Builders Price Book’. This extremely handy little publication – well it’s not so little – is produced annually.

The 2017 edition states that per square metre a privately developed new build will cost between £1375 and £1725. Since last year costs have risen roughly by 5 per cent and, whilst this is a good basis for estimating your finished home, it doesn’t take account of professional fees and/or build finish quality. For seriously high-end builds with innovative design, technology and fittings, prices may be double (or more) per square meter.

New or Used?

A general estimate of the difference between buying an existing house and building your own new home suggests that overall the finished property will be approximately 30% cheaper than an existing home. This is generally true across the country, though in some areas the value difference may be either a little more or less. Either way, experts generally agree that if you design your own home, the finished property will not only be the bespoke dream home you have hoped for but will come in at much better price than buying used!

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