Flatpack homes, or ‘kit homes’ have grown in popularity in the UK over recent years, with more than 10,000+ homeowners making the decision to opt out of the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ style houses.
And with good reason.
A flat pack house is a cheaper option to traditional house types, a quickly constructed building costing a fraction of the price of your standard semi-detached. In an era of housing shortages and high mortgage deposits, it’s a pretty tempting option, isn’t it?
So, what’s the reality of choosing to build a flat pack home? How much do they really cost to build and how do flat pack home prices truly compare to the more traditional homes that we’re all used to?
The cost of flat pack homes will vary, much the same as the build of any new property. These variations will depend on the usual sort of factors, like:
- Design specification
- House size
- Land costs
- Construction costs
As a guideline, across some of the leading names in Scandinavian and German flat pack houses, prices tend to range from £1300 per square metre to more than £3500 per square metre for a more high-end design.
To give you some indication on how that works out overall:
If you base your price on an average sized 3-bed house in the UK, a standard spec flat pack house cost is likely to be somewhere between £115,000 – £125,000.
For a high-end home, there tends to be a minimum size allowed, typically no smaller than 160 m2, meaning a cost anywhere between £380,000 and £500,000.
Table of Contents
What is a Flat Pack Home?
Let’s start by exploring exactly what we mean by a flat pack house, or home.
You may know them by another term: the prefabricated home, or prefab.
Prefabs first came to real prominence in the 1940s at the end of World War 2, mass-producing homes to ease the housing shortage of the time.
However, the flat pack homes of today tend to be a far cry from the functional, basic and fairly cramped prefabs of those bygone days; offering a stylish, spacious and environmentally friendly homes.
The Different Options
There are a few variations when it comes to modern flat pack houses; to match varying preferences and budgets.
These can be roughly split out into three main categories:
- The standard ‘Bare Bones’ house – in this version, you are essentially purchasing all the component parts of the house; from the walls, flooring and roof, to the windows, doors and fixtures. From here, it’s up to you to construct the property.
- The ‘Basic Build’ – In this case, you are purchasing the component parts as well as the skills of a construction team who will build the structure of the house, and ensure that it’s watertight. Decorating the interior and fitting your bathroom, kitchen and other areas of the house remain your responsibility.
- The ’Turnkey’ Build – This is where you use the services of a company to see the entire project through for you. The house will be constructed ‘off-site’ at the company warehouse, before being brought to the location and erected in situ. From here the company will then fit out the interior to your chosen spec, including bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen units.
Modern Flat Packs
The modern flat pack home has its roots in their development across Europe in the 1960s. Popularised in Sweden, Scandinavian flat pack houses are typically minimalist, yet stylish designs, and built with that European sensibility for light, space and practicality.
However, if you take a look at today’s UK market, you will find that a large chunk of the turnkey providers derives from Germany.
Indeed, as more and more people are attuning themselves to the stunning designs, quick building time and relative affordability (although by no means cheap) in comparison to traditionally built houses, so the German flat pack homes have somewhat grown in prominence on the UK landscape.
Things to Consider
- Speed – a flat pack home can be built and ready to move into considerably faster than you might expect if you building a bricks and mortar property, and knowing how stressful new house builds can sometimes be, this can be a real advantage.
- Efficient – the modern flat pack house is designed to be truly energy efficient, helping you minimise your ongoing utility costs into the future, and making you feel good about yourself in helping the planet.
- Customisable – Designed in a factory, flat pack homes offer the chance to create truly original styles for your home.
- Affordable – As well as cutting down your ongoing costs of living, flat pack homes are generally more affordable (in the region of 10-20% cheaper) than bricks and mortar buildings of comparable size. However, a word of caution here, you still need to buy the land upon which it will be built, a cost that you need to factor in.
- Extending – Flat pack homes are, as a rule, made to order. Therefore, once its constructed and in place, the opportunity to extend and amend in the future can be somewhat restricted. Most houses of this type factor in the shape and size needed at the outset.
Looking to the Future
While there’s no sign that traditional bricks and mortar houses are on the way out just yet, there is a strong and growing indication that flat pack homes are going to play a more and more prominent role in the UK housing landscape.
Indeed, as technology moves apace, with the increasing move towards smart homes and intelligent tech, flat pack homes offer the opportunity for environmentally-friendly and fully-connected living, from app-controlled heating and lighting systems, to Internet of Things operated utensils and facilities.
With the country still gripped by a housing shortage, there are numerous voices in the industry and the media suggesting, as this Financial Times article opines, that flat packs could provide the answer.
It would certainly be no surprise to envisage a future where more and more flat pack housing communities start to spring up, in next to no time, across our cities, towns and suburban areas.