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How much does it cost to build a house?

Find out what the better option is for you - buying a property or building it up from scratch. We'll be discussing the cost to build a house, work involved, and how long the whole thing can take.

6 min read

While they’re by no means a small undertaking, building a home from scratch can be one of the most rewarding things you do. You’ll have complete control over every element, meaning your abode is perfectly tailored to you and your family from top to bottom.

But how much does it cost to build a house? That’s the big question. While every project is different (and therefore every price tag) we’ve done our best to break down the finances involved.

For a more tailored estimate, you can always book a free consultation with our team to get a proper cost breakdown.

Cost to build a house, per square metre

With new builds coming in all shapes and sizes, the easiest way to predict prices is to look at costs per square metre.

In 2020, we estimate the cost of building your own home to be between £1,800 and £3,000 per square metre.

It’s recommended that in order to get a proper idea of costs that you work out the cost of your home by the size of your intended build, then include…

  • An extra 15% for the cost of your other professionals (such as architects, structural engineers, and project managers) and other miscellaneous costs - see below.
  • Plus another 10% in contingency, this should protect you in the event something goes wrong or timings overrun.

Fees you’ve probably not considered

While most people factor in the cost of the land, building materials, and contractors, many get caught out by the little things. Here’s a list of costs you may not be aware are on the horizon...

  • Legal fees
  • Stamp duty and land tax
  • Topographical site survey
  • Architecture fees
  • Structural engineer fees
  • Planning application fees
  • Building regulation submission fees
  • Warranty
  • Self-build insurance
  • Services
  • Demolition costs
  • External works

Acquiring a plot of land

When it comes to buying a plot of land, it’s worth remembering that you’ll still be subject to Stamp Duty Land Tax, which differs across the UK.

Remember: the threshold for stamp duty can change and is expected to do so in 2020. If you haven't reviewed the rules in a while, it's worth checking out the links above for up to date details.

You’ll also need to bear in mind that if your new build is a second property, you’ll also be liable to pay an additional 3% surcharge, though this will be waived if you sell your old property within 3 years.

Learn more about buying land in the UK.

Cost to build a house

What goes into your construction costs?

When it comes to your budget, the bulk of it will be going towards construction and the materials involved. Therefore the decisions you make here will have a big impact on how much budget is required.

On average, constructing a new property will involve these key stages…

  • Foundations
  • Floor structure
  • Superstructure
  • Roof structure and cover
  • Drainage
  • Electrics
  • Plumbing and heating
  • Internal carpentry
  • Plastering
  • Decoration
  • Tiling
  • Flooring

What does superstructure cover?

Superstructure refers to building the structural walling, external cladding, and getting your roof in place. It’s a complicated process and one of the most expensive stages.

Key build/design decisions

Alongside choosing what quality of contractor you’ll select (basic, high-quality, or premium) there’s a number of key material choices you’ll be faced with.

How will the structure be created?

  • Insulating concrete formwork (ICF)
  • Structural insulated panels (SIPS)
  • Timber frame
  • Blockwork

What external wall finish will you use?

  • Handmade brick
  • Standard brick
  • Stone
  • High-performance render
  • Cladding (Zinc, lead etc)

Which roof covering do you want?

  • Concrete pantile
  • Machine-made clay tile
  • Handmade clay tile
  • Slate

Will you include any of these glazing features?

  • Dormer windows
  • Glass ceiling
  • Skylights
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Bi-fold / french / sliding doors

To name just a few of the design features that will affect construction costs!

However, don’t feel overwhelmed. While all these decisions will play a key part in determining costs, these are all elements your architect will walk you through during the proposed design stage.

Design decisions that affect the cost to build a house

What affects the cost to build a house?

As you might be starting to understand, there a lot of different factors that can impact the price of your project. Here’s a breakdown of the main factors you’ll encounter…

  • Size
  • Quality
  • Location
  • Complexity of layout
  • Number of storeys
  • Basements
  • Amount of glazing
  • Loft space
  • Materials used
  • Professionals hired and time required by them
  • The need for any specialist input

Fun fact: did you know that London is the second most expensive place in the world to build a home from scratch in? Our capital was just pipped from the top spot by Hong Kong, so keep in mind what a difference location makes for your build!

How can I reduce costs to build a house?

If you want to make your money go further, consider these top cost-reducing tips from our new build experts…

Get a plot appraisal

Getting your foundations sorted is the second most expensive stage during construction. Therefore, before you buy any plot of land, you want to make sure you don’t have any nasty surprises waiting for you and your team.

By investing in a site survey, you’ll be able to know up front whether or not clay, trees, or any slopes will affect the cost of your build. Allowing you to be better informed before you make that all-important purchase.

Plot appraisal to reduce cost to build a house


This is where being good with your hands can really start to pay off. Doing most of the construction work yourself could help you shave off 30-40% off your total bill. However, unless you’re a contractor yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll have the skills to take on this level of work.

A more realistic option would be for you to tackle the lighter side of things, such as tiling the bathrooms or laying your own carpets.

You might also consider project managing the build. This will be time-intensive and not a job for the faint of heart but it can result in being savings when it comes to construction.

Learn more about project management here.

Finance your project the smart way

While many people look at short-term savings, don’t forget to consider the big picture. Unless you have a nice pot of savings, it’s likely you’ll be financing your new build through a loan. One of the best things you can do when choosing your provider is to go with a specialist lender, who has experience in handling property-related investments.

As official partners to the Mortgage Advice Bureau, our Finance service is able to source the best lenders and rates for your project, working with your designers to ensure you get the right amount of funding at the right time.

We’ll also help ensure your investment is properly protected by sorting out the best insurance policies for you. As the COVID-19 crisis illustrated, you want to make sure that no matter what happens in regards to your health or employment, you can still make your repayments.

Learn more about Resi Finance.

Resi’s new build service…

At Resi, we’re proud to offer a new build service that’s tailored to you.

Whether you’re embarking on building the home of your dreams or looking to get started on a new development project, our experts are on hand to kickstart your journey.

Our service includes…

  • Surveys
  • Architectural design
  • Site appraisal
  • Feasibility studies
  • Pre-planning application
  • Planning support
  • Finance
  • Building regulations
  • Project management
  • Interior design
  • On site support
  • Plus, introductions to vetted local contractors

Learn more about our new build service.

To get both a tailored quote for our services and a total project estimate, book a call in with our team. Our complimentary consultations provide the easiest (and free-est) way of working out your budget requirements.

How much will it cost to build?

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How much does it cost to build a house in the UK?

In 2020, cost of building your own home was between £1,800 and £3,000 per square metre.

How can I save money when building a house?

To save money when building a house you can get a plot appraisal, do some of the tasks yourself, and finance your project the right way.

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