Plot prices have fallen by at least 20-30 per cent and there is far more choice now, says Michael Holmes.
Some commentators, such as our Property Clinic expert David Snell, reckon times have rarely been better for the self-builder. Says Snell: “Both land prices and construction costs are falling, creating a benign environment for people who want to build an individual home.”
Marcus and Yvonne Copeland are building a contemporary-style home partially built into a hillside in north-west Wales. Despite the current state of the housing market they decided to continue with the £450,000 project because rather than being a speculative venture, they want it to be their long-term home.
“This is our dream home and we intend to live here for the foreseeable future. On that basis, the decision to build now rather than wait for the market to recover was the right one,” says Marcus, a mortgage adviser.
“The savings we have made in this current competitive climate has helped knock thousands off the cost of materials and labour.
“Once completed, we expect our home to be worth at least 25 per cent more than we have spent,” says Marcus.
Plotfinder.net, the online database of land and renovation opportunities, reports that subscriptions to their land-finding service have increased dramatically in January and February.
“Plot prices have fallen by at least 20-30 per cent and there is far more choice now. We have a record number of listings with almost 7,800 sites available for sale across the UK,” says plotfinder.net’s Vicky Baylis.
“We have seen a surge in interest in self-build this year,” says John Day, head of financial services, marketing, at Buildstore, the specialist self-build lender. “The market has changed since the onset of the credit crunch, but it is still buoyant and money is still available.
“Lenders still see self-builders as a relatively good risk because of the equity built into such projects. The end value of a project is typically 20-25 per cent above the build cost.”
In Birmingham this week, the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show brings together more than 500 exhibitors including architects, design-and-build package companies, materials suppliers, specialist lenders and land-finding companies.
Increased interest in sustainable homebuilding is reflected in a dedicated Eco Homes Show, where the latest ideas on creating self-sufficient, low- impact homes will be on display, as well as products to make existing housing more energy-efficient and ecological.
Renovators and home improvers will also find all the information they need for an extension, remodelling or loft conversion project.