Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A House UK?

Would you like to get yourself a new house but don’t know whether to build one or buy a pre-existing one? Buying a house is more common than building a new one in the UK, but you don’t always have to follow the trends.

Building a home in the UK is cheaper if you don’t consider the cost of land, otherwise buying a house is cheaper. However, building a house gives you more control over all aspects, comes with government incentive schemes and gets back labour, VAT and material costs.

Knowing everything that affects the costs of building and buying a house is important before making a decision. Moreover, both of them have pros and cons that you should know about. So, let’s talk about it in detail!

Costs of Building and Buying a House in the UK

When getting a new house, you have to decide whether you want to build a home or buy a pre-existing house. Building a house and buying a house, both have their pros and cons. Many factors are involved that determine the end decision of a person. The most important one is the cost.

House SizeAverage Building CostAverage Buying Cost
2-Bedroom House£190,000 to £280,000 £255,172
3-Bedroom House£240,000 to £360,000 £283,706
4-Bedroom House£290,000 to £440,000 £426,099 
5-Bedroom House£320,000 to £480,000£585,000

Your budget decides what kind of home you can build or buy. Therefore, it is important to know the cost of both building a house and buying an already existing house in the UK. 

Cost of Building a House in the UK

Building a house involves many steps. You have to find a plot of land, buy materials, get architectural drawings, pay for the labour, comply with building regulations, design the interior, get furniture, etc. 

As with any project, you start with an estimated budget for building a house, but the finished cost almost always surpasses your budget.

This excess can be due to extra materials required, change of plans in the architecture, change in material costs, or the labour costing more than you anticipated just to the work taking additional time.

Before you start construction you’ll need a plot of land to build on.  The average cost to buy residential land in the UK can go from £300,000 in the north to over a million pounds in the south. 

Next, the cost of building a house in the UK depends upon the square metre of the floor. £1,250-£3,500 per square metre is the usual price. 

Depending upon the type of house you want, it can cost anywhere from £190,000 to £480,000. A 2-bedroom house can be built at the lowest cost of £190,000 whereas a 5-bedroom house starts at £320,000.

You can spend an endless amount on building a house anywhere. It depends on your preference and budget, but you will need at least £190,000 for a small, low-standard house. If you keep on adding luxuries and increasing the size of the house, the cost can go as high as the sky.

Interior designing, supply, and installation can cost around £22,000. If you use cheap building materials, the cost can be cut down. In this regard, timber frames cost more.

Cost of Buying a House in the UK

The cost of buying a house in the UK depends upon the area where you are buying, but as of March 2022 the average house price was £278,000 according to the ONS

After COVID-19, there has been a drastic increase in the prices of properties in the UK. Even then, people prefer to buy a pre-existing house.

Only 8-10% of people build their own homes in the UK, which is a low number as compared to other places in the world. However, this percentage is increasing due to the increase in property prices.

The costs of buying a house include the deposit, taxes, refurbishment and repair costs, insurance, and completion costs. All these can add up to £32,771 for a 3-bedroom house of low-standard quality. That house will still not be as per your liking in most cases.

In addition, you have to get a solicitor, whose fees can be up to £2,000. Mortgage arrangements and booking can cost £1,100 to £2,200. The house survey will cost £400-£1,500 depending on the type of survey that you order.

Moving your stuff yourself can save a lot of money but it isn’t always easy especially if you have a lot of stuff to move. If you hire someone for moving it can cost up to £2,000+. 

Stamp duty cost is not to be forgotten. It is a tax you have to pay when you buy a house in England or Northern Ireland. If you are a first-time buyer and your property costs up to £300,000, you are exempt from it. 

The stamp duty tax rate depends upon the price of the property. If the price is higher, the tax is higher. There is a 0% stamp duty tax on houses up to £125,000. 

Should You Buy or Build a House in the UK?

The answer to this question can never be a simple yes or no. There are many things that make building a house better than buying a house and vice versa.

In the UK, people usually don’t build their own homes, so it can be a better option to build one for yourself in terms of market value and competition. 

Building a house means you get to choose what everything will be like. Everything from the structure, size, location, interior, wiring, plumbing, etc goes according to your plan, and you can end up making your dream house. A pre-existing home can be close to your dream home but never 100% similar to it.

The largest potential cost to building your own home is the land you’ll build on.  That can add a considerable amount to the final total.

People looking to move in quickly due to their work should go for buying a pre-existing house.  While some work might be required, renovating an existing house should be much quicker than building one from scratch.

In the end, it depends on your preference but you can go through the pros and cons of building and buying a house in the UK for better help. 

Pros and Cons of Building a House in the UK

Before building a house in the UK, you must look for its pros and cons. There are many factors that determine whether you should build a home or buy a pre-existing one. So, let’s get started!

Pros

The pros of building a house in the UK are as follows: 

  • Customisation: When building a house you get to pick EVERYTHNING, from the desired architecture, to all the internal designs.  Even if you are low on budget, you can get the desired number of rooms, layout, size, etc. You can customise everything according to your taste from the size of the house to the style of the floor. Everything is in your hands. 
  • Better Quality: While building a house you can pay attention to the quality of everything. You can aim to get the best for you and your family and you can pay attention to the details. 
  • Eco-Friendly Building: You can make wise decisions while building your home and use eco-friendly materials for it. You can cut off a lot of energy consumption and not damage the environment much in the process when everything is in your control.
  • Less Confusion: When you buy a pre-existing house, it can get confusing while making a choice. Whereas, when you build a house, everything goes according to your plan and you can add any detail to your home. So, making a choice in this regard is easier.
  • Cost-Effective: Building your house means you get exactly what you want. In most cases, it is a cost-effective option in the UK, especially after the price increase in property due to COVID. 

Cons

The cons of building a house are as follows:

  • Time: Building a house from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. You have to plan out everything, and wait for at least 2 years from the time you get a site to the time you can finally move in. it isn’t ideal for a quick move-in.
  • Hassle: A lot of hassle is involved in building a house. You have to do everything on your own and make a lot of decisions in the process. It can be quite stressful at times. 
  • Funding: To build a house, you don’t get the whole loan at once. You get separate loans for buying land and then get the building loan in parts. 
  • Cost: No matter how much you plan and research, the cost of building a new house will always be more than you anticipated. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a House in the UK

Now, we should talk about the pros and cons of buying a house in the UK so you can decide what is the best decision for you. Buying a house isn’t easy either as it involves a lot of steps. You can read Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home (on Amazon) for help. 

So, let’s see how buying a house in the UK can be a better option and what things you have to consider!

Pros

The pros of buying a house are as follows:

  • Less Hassle: Purchasing a new house involves less hassle as you only have to choose a house and move in. It doesn’t involve any of the decision-making for the structure, interior, etc as with building a house.
  • Desired Place: If you want to live in a specific location, you can get a pre-existing home there easily. Whereas it might be hard to get a plot at a specific location. 
  • Move-in Quickly: You don’t have to wait for months before moving into a pre-existing home. It is a better option for people who want to change their house immediately due to work or education. 
  • Option to Bargain: You can bargain with estate agents about a specific house or they can find you a suitable home within your budget. 
  • Instant Funds: Getting loans and funds for buying a new house is easier and quicker. You choose a house and apply for the mortgage. The process can be quite quick.  

Cons

Cons of buying a house are as follows:

  • Compromise: You have to make a lot of compromises regarding everything. No matter how close the house is to your dream home, there would be things you would have to compromise on.
  • Renovation: Pre-existing homes have older structures and require repairs and upgrades. You will have to pay for these repairs in addition to the house cost.
  • Competition: You aren’t the only buyer in town, you can find an ideal property to purchase but be beaten to it by another buyer.
  • Choice: You get endless choices for buying a new house and there can be a lot of confusion while choosing the right house.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cost of Building a 4-Bedroom House in the UK?

The average cost of building a 4-bedroom house in the UK is around £348,000. It depends upon the square metres. It can start from £196,000 for 140 square metres and go up to £500,000 for 200 square metres.

Will Building Cost Go Down in 2022 in the UK?

The increase in the building and construction material cost in 2021 will continue in 2022 in the UK. The prices aren’t expected to go down anytime soon. If you are looking for a construction team you could employ the services of a construction recruitment agency.

What Is The Cheapest Way to Build a House in the UK?

Using blockwork instead of timber frames costs less and can save up to 15% of your building costs. However, you will have to compromise on the quality as blockwork is cheap quality. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know everything about the costs of building a new house and buying a pre-existing one in the UK, you can make the choice most suitable for you. It is important to know all the factors affecting the costs before you go for a house. Moreover, you should find the right real estate agents or construction companies so that you can get a good-quality house at the cheapest price.


Sources

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/march2022#:~:text=The%20average%20UK%20house%20price,to%20%C2%A3165%2C000%20(10.4%25).

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