April 23 2019 0Comment

The UK Cities with the Biggest Self-build Potential

With the UK housing crisis increasing year-on-year, many Brits are turning to unconventional methods of landing themselves on the housing market – by constructing a self-build. Thanks to self-build shows like Grand Designs ‘The Street,’ the idea of building your dream home from scratch has become an attractive proposition for homeowners.

But have you ever stopped to consider whether it’s an attainable project? Is it something you could afford? To help make the self-build process easier, Insulation Express have uncovered exactly what is a self-build before highlight the biggest self-build opportunities across the UK.

What is a Self-build?

Quite literally, a self-build home is a bespoke property designed, built and commissioned by the aspiring self-builder. It is perfect for those who want to tailor their home to a particular design, lifestyle, and budget.

How Much Does a Self-build Cost?

The cost of a self-build home can vary depending on design and size specifications. However, research shows that the majority of self-builds cost between £190,000 and £350,000 to construct. This does, however, not include the price of land – but you can find the average plot price for 30 UK cities below.

How Easy is it to Attain a Mortgage for a Self-build?

Before being accepted for a self-build mortgage, you must have:

  • Secured an outline or full planning permission for the self-build.
  • Hired a professional project manager
  • Worked out detailed costings
  • Hired a builder that has been credit-checked
  • Accepted that mortgages for self-build tend to be interest only
  • Saved a substantial sizeable deposit

As of March 2019, the most recent self-build mortgage on the market is offered by Saffron Building Society – which is a two-year, interest-only repayment product. It is available at a loan-to-value of 75%, with a minimum loan of £30,000.

Luckily, for aspiring homeowners, the deal is available to first-time buyers and there is no age restriction. However, the aspiring self-builder can only request five times their current annual income.

1 Million Brits Want to Start the Self-build Process in the Next Year

In the first seven months of Right-to-Build register opening,18,000 Brits registered themselves into the scheme. In December 2017, this figure jumped to over 33,000, but the most recent figures suggest that the original figure has more than doubled (40,000). Evidently, this highlights the rising interest in self-builds – 1 million Brits have also stated that they wish to start their self-build project in the next 12 months

Top 10 Cheapest Cities for Self-Build Plots

Place City Average Price of Plot
1 Inverness £91,062
2 Dundee £95,000
3 Manchester £112,090
4 Salford £119,833
5 Durham £128,684
6 Wolverhampton £146,666
7 Southampton £156,666
8 Plymouth £170,000
9 Lincoln £173,316
10 Newport £195,500


Self-build projects can be an expensive venture and one of the biggest challenges for aspirational homeowners – so it’s important to be in tune with your budget. The first step of planning a self-build is to find out the average price of a plot within your chosen location.

If you live in Inverness and plan on constructing a self-build – congratulations, as you live in the cheapest city for buying a plot of land. The average price is £91,062. Following closely behind is Dundee with the average piece of land costing £95,000.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities for Self-Build Plots

Insulation Express have also used their ‘self-build opportunities’ data to expose the most expensive cities for aspiring self-builders.

Place City Average Price of Plot
1 Liverpool £817,000
2 Oxford £508,333
3 Leeds £388,000
4 Portsmouth £371,250
5 Derby £356,428
6 Peterborough £328,741
7 Cambridge £323,333
8 Cardiff £303,750
9 Birmingham £274,714
10 Edinburgh £256,000


It’s bad news if you live in Liverpool – the average price of a plot will set you back £817,000 and that’s before you’ve built your house. It’s also seven times more expensive than Manchester (£91,062) which is just a short train ride away from Liverpool, and therefore within commuting distance.

Top 30 UK Cities with the Biggest Self-build Plot Potential

If price isn’t a problem when it comes to planning your dream self-build but instead you’re focused on location, then Insulation Express have uncovered the UK’s biggest self-build opportunities.

Custom and Self-Builds Set to Increase By 35% Year-on-Year

As of April 2019, only 8% of homes are custom or self-build, but the government are determined to change this. They have recently introduced a number of incentives as a means of diversifying the market and encouraging more people to build their own homes. Some of the most encouraging incentives include these four:

  1. Permission in Principle

Recently introduced, this new incentive helps small builders and housing developments obtain land through local authorities.

  1. Home Building Fund

The government have also recently introduced the £3 billion ‘Home Building Fund’ which will provide short-term loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), custom-builders and innovators to deliver up to 25,000 homes.

  1. Right-to-build Scheme

This incentive allows local authorities to make plots available for self-builders. With this new legalisation, the government are hoping to increase the number of self and custom-build homes in the UK by 35% a year (13,000 to 20,000).

  1. Reduced Stamp Duty

To make things easier on the wallet, government schemes have meant that self-builders can save thousands on the price of Reduced Stamp Duty. For example, did you know that you only have to pay stamp duty on the cost of the land itself if it this passes £300,000 for first-time buyers. Or if this isn’t your first time home, the threshold is £125,000 and above.

Self-builders Make a Profit of 29% When Selling Their Home

Another incentive is the extra profit that comes with selling your self-build. One major driver to the increase in self-build homes is the rising house prices across the UK, which means homeowners can fund their self-build project from revenues in a house sale. But, the increased cost of houses has also meant people are looking to self-build as there’s a sense of ‘getting more for your money’, and on average self-builders gain 29% in the value of their completed home.

So, are you ready to make the move and start your own self-build?

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