Your Property Wizard

How much does it cost to build a house?

As housing prices continue to rise, it can be tempting to consider building your home from the ground up. With such a big project undertaking, it can seem daunting – and where to start can be confusing.

Our guide is here to simplify that. We’ll be looking at:

  • The cost of building a new house
  • What affects the cost of building a new house
  • How you can save money
  • What’s involved in building a new house
  • The best way to find professional tradespeople to help you with the job

To take matters into your own hands and build the house of your dreams, keep reading to find out our top money-saving tips.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

On average, building a new house costs between £1,800 and £3,000 per square metre. The table below breaks down the average cost for building a house, broken down by the number of bedrooms in the house.

2-bed house £190,000 to £280,000
3-bed house £245,000 to £365,000
4-bed house £295,000 to £440,000
5-bed house £320,000 to £480,000

As you can see from the table above, the cost of building a new home drastically changes depending on the number of bedrooms.

A two-bed house is estimated to cost between £190,000 to £280,000 to build.

A three-bed house is estimated to cost between £245,000 to £365,000.

A four-bed house is estimated to cost between £295,000 to £440,000 to build.

Finally, a five-bed house is estimated to cost between £320,000 to £480,000 to build.

The table below looks at each build phase of the project, the percentage of the total build each phase is and its estimated cost.

Pre-construction (site survey, demolition and clearance, utilities and services) 5% £9,500 to £14,000 £12,250 to £18,250 £14,750 to £22,000 £16,000 to £24,000
Substructure (foundations, drains, slab base, insulation) 7% £13,300 to £19,600 £17,150 to £25,550 £20,650 to £30,800 £22,400 to £33,600
Superstructure (internal and external walls, roof, insulation, floors) 24% £45,600 to £67,200 £58,800 to £87,600 £70,800 to £105,600 £76,800 to £115,200
External Structure (doors and glazing, roof tiles, gutters and downpipes cladding) 15% £28,500 to £42,000 £36,750 to £54,750 £41,300 to £66,000 £48,000 to £72,000
Internal Fittings and Finishes (electrics, plumbing and heating, painting and decorating, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring) 24% £45,600 to £67,200 £58,800 to £87,600 £70,800 to £105,600 £76,800 to £115,200
Garden and Driveway 5% £9,500 to £14,000 £12,250 to £18,250 £14,750 to £22,000 £16,000 to £24,000
Project Management Fees 10% £19,000 to £28,000 £24,500 to £36,500 £29,500 to £44,000 £32,000 to £48,000
Contingency 10% £19,000 to £28,000 £24,500 to £36,500 £29,500 to £44,000 £32,000 to £48,000
Total 100% £190,000 to £280,000 £245,000 to £365,000 £295,000 to £440,000 £320,000 to £480,000

Starting at the beginning, for your pre-construction build phase – including site survey, demolition and clearance, utilities and services – the estimated cost for a two-bed house is £9,500 to £14,000 depending on the complexity. Moving up the scale to a five-bed house, you can expect these fees to be closer to £16,000 to £24,000, totalling 5% of your total build cost.

Next up is substructure – including foundations, drains, slab base, and insulation – which accounts for 7% of your build cost. The two-bed house will command prices of £13,300 to £19,600, and the five-bed house will be between £22,400 to £33,600.

Looking at superstructure next – internal and external walls, roof, insulation, floors – which is 24% of your total build cost, the two-bed house will want around £45,600 to £67,200, while the five-bed will be between £76,800 to £115,200. This is – together with internal fittings and finishings – one of the most expensive features of your house build project.

Moving outside, we’re looking at external structure, considering doors and glazing, roof tiles, gutters and downpipes cladding. Totalling 15% of your total build price, the two-bed house will need between £28,500 to £42,000 to get the job done, while the five-bed house will need something closer to £48,000 to £72,000.

Internal fittings and finishes (electrics, plumbing and heating, painting and decorating, kitchen, bathrooms and flooring) can quickly spiral in price, with so many options available it can be easy to slip out of budget. Accounting for 24% of your project’s fee, the two-bed house will need a budget of between £45,600 to £67,200, while the five-bed will be between £76,800 to £115,200.

Next up, we’ll look at your garden and driveway, responsible for 5% of your project’s fee. Depending on the style you opt for – with paving being more expensive than tarmac, for example – you can expect costs of between £9,500 to £14,000 for a two-bed house, and something closer to £16,000 to £24,000 for a five-bed house.

Project management fees are important to not forget amongst all the building work, as it can command a large chunk of your budget of around 10%. The two-bed houses will need something around £19,000 to £28,000, while a five-bed house will need £32,000 to £48,000 for the management costs.

Contingency funds are also important to remember and can help you to get out of sticky situations such as when things go over budget, or something happens outside of your control to change the course of your project. It’s good practice to set aside around 10% of your project’s total fee to cover this, which is £19,000 to £28,000 for a two-bed house, and £32,000 to £48,000 for a five-bed house.

Finally, if we look at the project totals, these will be between £190,000 to £280,000 for a two-bed house, and £320,000 to £480,000 for a five-bed home.

Are you ready to start your house building project? HouseholdQuotes can help you find the right builder.

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What Affects the Cost of Building a House?

A huge range of factors are going to impact the cost of building a house and that there is no one-size-fits-all for this type of project. We break down the most common factors you should take note of below.

Your Location and Land Costs

The first thing to take into consideration is where you want to build your home. This is not only important for fulfilling your hopes about where you’d like to live, but it will also play a part in determining the cost of your project.

Different locations across the UK are going to price the cost of land differently.

Plotfinder is the UK’s best resource for finding land for sale in the UK. You can search by town, county or postcode and view the plots currently available for purchase and at what cost.

Stamp Duty Costs

Let’s look at Stamp Duty for new builds. First, what is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is a land tax paid on property or land that has been purchased in England and Northern Ireland. If your purchase costs are over a certain threshold, then you will need to pay Stamp Duty.

From 1st October 2021, Stamp Duty must be paid on portions of the price of a home that costs above £125,000. Therefore, you wouldn’t be taxed on the first £125,000 but you would be required to pay Stamp Duty for anything above that.

Up to £125,000 0%
From £125,001 to £250,000 2%
From £250,001 to £925,000 5%
From £925,001 to £1.5 million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%

As you can see from the table, the more expensive the property, the higher the rate of Stamp Duty. Use this calculator, to figure out how much Stamp Duty, you would need to pay for your property.

Land Transaction Tax (LTT) replaced Stamp Duty in Wales in 2018, and the price thresholds are different from that of England and Northern Ireland.

You can read more about what you would need to pay in LTT for property in Wales here.

Similarly, if you were considering building a new home in Scotland, you would need to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), which again has different rates from England and Northern Ireland and Wales.

Read more about the LBTT rates here.

The Size of Your New Home

It may seem obvious, but it’s an important factor to remember: the size of your new home is going to have an impact on the cost!

The larger your new home, the more expensive it is going to be – not only in costs for purchasing the land but in labour and supply costs too.

If you’re struggling to decide what size you want your new home to be, it can be helpful to look at estimated costs per square metre, or by bedroom size.

If you were hoping for a larger house, but are put off by the cost, it may be worth consulting the help of an architect. A carefully designed house can reduce the costs of building it and an architect can help you with designing the house most effectively.

Your Chosen Design

One of the most creative parts of the process can be designing the house. You can get to bring the home you’ve been dreaming of to life, with all the quirks and touches you desire.

These design choices, however, will end up playing a role in the final cost of the home.

Let’s look at the design aspects you’ll need to consider, that will contribute to the final cost:

  • Number of storeys
  • Habitable loft
  • Basement
  • Number and size of windows
  • Number and size of doors
  • Choice of construction materials (brick or natural stone, as examples)
  • Finishes, such as cement or sand house rendering
  • Cladding
  • Roofing
  • Flooring
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Staircases
  • Chimneys
  • Kitchen
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Number of fixtures

The Build Type and Professional Fees

The way you’re planning to build your home will have an impact on the cost. Decide early in the process how you’d like to build your home so that you can be aware of what fees may or may not come with the process.

Deciding who is at the front of the project is key to a successful build.

The main types of builds are:

  • Self-build – this is where the individual owns the land they’re building the house on and takes control over the build. They can work with a team, such as architects and engineers to create the build, but they oversee the entire project. They also take part in the actual building procedures of the home.
  • Self-build with subcontractors – this is where the individual is in control of the build, but also works with a team of builders to run the project on their behalf.
  • Main contractor with subcontractors – this is one of the more common types of build, where the individual works with a dedicated project manager. While the individual has the design control, the project manager works on the realities of organising tradespeople and other key workers to get the build completed
  • Package build and custom build – these options include using experienced companies to manage the entire build, including sourcing tradespeople and managing the site from beginning to end

Regardless of which type of build you choose to go for, there are key tradespeople you’re likely to need in the project: a builder or team of builders, an architect, and a structural engineer.

Outsourcing to these tradespeople means you can have professional and experienced teams working on your build to complete it successfully.

If you need to hire a builder, use our dedicated page to look at the average costs of doing so and what is likely to affect these costs.

Our pages breaking down the fees for hiring an architect and a structural engineer can be found here and here, along with more information on what exactly these tradespeople bring to the table and how they can help you.

You will also need to consider the planning application and building regulations fees that will come with this kind of project.

For England and Wales, the full application for planning permission for a new house costs £460.

The full application for planning permission for a new house costs £401 in Scotland.

Northern Ireland’s full application for planning permission for a new house costs £868.

The cost of building regulations approval varies council by council, and you can find more information on at

The Construction Type and Masonry

Choosing what you want to build your house of it is a key part of the process and is going to impact the final cost of the build.

Traditionally, the choice would come down to whether you wanted to choose between timber frames and masonry. Now, there is a lot more variety in what you choose from structural insulated panels to steel frames.

Different systems are going to have different prices attached.

Concrete blockwork is likely to be approximately between 13% to 15% of the overall build cost whereas timber frames could cost as little as 10% of the build cost.

Construction systems such as structural insulated panels are estimated to cost between 5% and 20% more than concrete blockwork, but these types of systems bring benefits to the build such as faster construction which could decrease labour costs.

Project managers will be able to work with you to decide the best construction for your home, or if you’re hoping to take on this role yourself then consider one of the easier systems to manage such as timber frames.

When it comes to construction quality, at an absolute minimum your home must meet building regulation standards, but you should always aim to build to the highest possible standard within your budget.

This will look like choosing the highest quality materials for your foundations, external walls, roof, windows, and doors. These are core parts of the structure of your house and will be the most difficult and expensive to replace or fix should you choose a lower quality to save money.

When it comes to these core features, it is not the time to be picking a lower quality with a more affordable cost. You want to build a solid and high-quality structure for your home that will meet regulations and keep residents safe.

The Site Challenges

In an ideal world, your build will go from paper to reality with no hitches or obstacles, but unfortunately, this is not always the case and it’s best to be prepared for some of the problems you could face with your build.

Once you’ve chosen the site you want to build on, you will need to consider the ground conditions. Poor ground conditions, sloping grounds, contaminated soil or remote locations can all affect the cost of the build because they directly impact the labour of the tradespeople.

The phrase ‘poor ground conditions’ can cover a variety of things – you may need extra drainage, you may require excavation, and contaminated soil can mean you need to look into specialist solutions.

If you are working with sloping ground conditions, we would recommend adding an extra £1,000 to your budget for every one degree your ground slopes.

Remote locations can also have an impact because it may make finding tradespeople willing to travel to your site difficult, as well as sourcing out the necessary equipment for your site.

The Bank Fees

You will need to think about how you plan to fund your build. You may have saved all the money you need, but this isn’t always a possibility for every person looking to self-build.

If you don’t have the money in savings, you will need to take out a self-build mortgage or construction loan.

Self-build mortgages don’t operate the same way as traditional mortgages. The funds are released in stages to create the cash flow needed for building the home and paying the contractors that are working on the project.

These types of mortgages are less widely available and are more competitive to acquire. They are provided by specialist providers meaning that there are fewer products available. You will need to provide planning documents for your build as well as meet specific criteria that have been laid out by each provider.

Banks and private lenders will charge fees to arrange the loan which is typically several hundred pounds or more, and you will need to factor in interest charges until you can repay the mortgage or loan in full.

Comparison sites can be used to search between self-build mortgages.

Your Contingency Money

As with any type of DIY project, we always recommend setting aside some money for the unexpected. Self-builds are huge projects and do have the capacity for problems or obstacles.

We recommend you set aside at least 10% of your budget for unexpected issues. Though this can seem like a lot of money, it’s better to know you have money to see you through any emergencies or problems than having to scramble to find the problems as they happen.

How Can I Save Money When Building a House?

Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your house building project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple builders near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.

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The most important step to take to save money when building a home is to set a budget. With such a large project it can be easy to want to spend a little more here and there as the project develops, but this can lead to spending more than you have the budget for.

Decide on a budget at the beginning of the project and communicate this to the key people involved in your project whether it be your lender or your builder.

You can always choose to reduce the size of your home. This may mean you need to find a compromise on the dream house you’ve been envisioning but it will save you a huge amount in costs if you choose to reduce the number of bedrooms or scale down your kitchen or bathroom.

One of the best ways to save money is to find the right tradespeople for the job with the right experience and who aren’t rogue traders looking to drain your bank account with unacceptable standards.

How Do I Know If a Self-Build Project Is Right For Me?

Deciding just how much or how little you want to be involved in your build can be difficult, and whatever you decide will have implications on the final cost of the build.

Our table below looks at the advantages and disadvantages of self-building and hiring a builder.

Self-build Creative control
Self builders are exempt from the Community Infrastructure Levy (the procedure must be followed correctly)
Total control over the process
Managing the process can be time-consuming and difficult
You’ll need to be organised at every stage of the process
Builder, subcontractors, and managers Experienced in the work and can offer advice
Speedier process than DIY route
May have range of contacts to help finalise project
You’ll need to hire the right professionals with the right experience and good track record
You’ll need to rely on the team to execute your dream as you wish

Generally speaking, you have a lot more control – and responsibility – if you go down the self-build route. You’ll need significant experience in this field, and be ready to take on a lot of tasks at once, happy to get stuck in to practically any issue.

With a builder, you relinquish a lot of this control, and they largely look after the entire process for you. Problems can still occur, however, and this is why it’s so essential that you check out your trader before agreeing to work with them, as if you hire someone who isn’t up to the job you can end up with a lot of problems on your hands.

What’s Involved in Building a House?

Firstly, you will need to decide what plot you want to purchase. This will decide where your home is going to be built and what size it is going to be.

You’ll need to then prepare the site and build the foundation of the home. This will include acquiring the necessary permits and having your construction crew begin to level the site for the temporary foundation to be built.

This is the stage where any site problems will be noted and hopefully rectified, as the crew will clear the site in preparation for the build.

If the home is going to have a basement, this will be dug, and the foundations formed.

Next, the floor systems, walls and roof are completed making up the ‘skeleton’ of the house. The structure is covered with sheathing to protect it from rain and mould.

Rough plumbing, including, pipes, wires, vents, sewage lines, bathtubs, and shower units, is completed at the next stage. The bath or shower units are installed at this point because it’s easy to manoeuvre larger and heavy objects at this point.

The roofing will then be installed, and an electrician will come onsite to instal outlets and light switches as well as any cables for telephones or televisions.

The insulation for the home will then be added in whatever form has been chosen. This could be structural insulated panels, fibreglass, or foam boards.

Drywall is then hung and taped so that the seams between boards are covered, and a primer coating of paint is applied.

Interior doors, windowsills, and decorative trim are installed at this point along with any fixtures such as cabinets or fireplace mantels. The walls will be finished with the last coat of paint or wallpapered.

Flooring and countertops will be installed as well as the bathroom fixtures such as shower doors or mirrors.

Final clean-up will take place and if any exterior landscaping is to be done, such as lawn or shrub planting, this will be completed at this stage.

How Do I Find and Hire a Builder and Tradespeople?

Finding the right builder can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to builders in your area.

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In addition, we always suggest you seek recommendations from family, friends, and neighbours. Personal recommendations can be trusted, and you may even get to see the quality of the work done first-hand.

We also suggest you search trade associations such as the Federation of Master Builders, the Institute of Carpenters or FENSA. The members of these associations abide by a code of conduct and are vetted by each organisation to be sure of the quality of the work and reliability.

Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit

It’s important that you feel comfortable with the builder you’ve chosen for your project – especially with something as big and life-changing as a house build project. It’s paramount that you carry out some simple background checks, such as looking at the trader’s track record, past jobs, and any references available.

Take a look at their photos or videos of previous work too as this will give you a visual indication of the type of work they’re capable of. Once you’re satisfied with their experience, make sure you get a written quote agreed upon before the work begins to avoid any last-minute additions or extras to your bill.

Finally, you should find out if they are insured as an individual, as well as their tools. This can help to protect you from lawsuits if any damage happens during the work.

Final Checklist

Use the below checklist to make sure you take the best steps for building your home:

  • Decide on a budget
  • Decide what size home you would like to build and the relevant Stamp Duty or Land Tax you will need to pay
  • Find a suitable piece of land through Plotfinder
  • Choose your build type
  • Consider your construction type

Building your own property is an incredible experience and opportunity to have something bespoke to you – just make sure you hire the right people to carry out the work for you, and examine their credentials fully before agreeing to anything.

Use HouseholdQuotes to find local builders and potentially save money on your house building project.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House per Square Metre?

On average, building a new house costs between £1,800 and £3,000 per square metre.

Is It Cheaper to Build a House or Buy One Already Built?

Building your home is usually cheaper than buying a property from a developer and your home could be worth around 20% more than its combined land and build cost.

How Long Does It Take To Build a Home?

There’s no one answer to this as it depends on all the factors we’ve listed above as well as personal circumstances. However, on average it can usually take anywhere from six months to three years, depending on the type of self-build you choose.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Build a House?

Spring and Summer are usually considered the best times to build a home, as you can benefit from dry weather and longer daylight hours.

Can You Get a Mortgage for a Self-Build Home?

Yes! Not everyone will have the money for a self-build stored away, so self-build mortgages are a good way to fund the build.

You can compare mortgage costs with comparison sites to get a good idea of the range of costs.

What Is a Construction Loan?

Construction loans are short-term finance that can be used when erecting a new building.

Ready to start your project? We can help!

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