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Last updated on February 16th, 2024

How much does it cost to build a house?

Looking to build your own home? This guide is designed to help you get a rough idea of how much it could cost you to build a house. You’ll also find a lot of useful insights and tips along the way.

Self-builds are becoming a rapidly growing trend in the UK, with more and more homeowners opting to self-build rather than buy a property.

If you’re considering building a house, we’ve put together this complete cost guide to help you understand and budget for the project.

Fast Facts

  • The average cost to build a house is around £1,400 to £3,000 per m2
  • The total cost will depend on the size and complexity of your house
  • It’s important to research and budget for every element of the house
  • Always hire experienced and reliable local tradespeople

How much does it cost to build a house?

The cost to build a new house in the UK will depend on a number of factors, each of which will contribute to the overall cost of building your own home.

Some of the big ones include the size of your property, the materials you decide to use and the amount of tradespeople and professionals you hire to complete the project.

Cost itemRange - LowRange - HighAverage cost
Average cost to build a house (per m2)£1,400£3,000£1,800
3-bed house (90-120 m2)£126,000£300,000-
4-bed house (140-200 m2)£196,000£500,000-
5-bed house (200-240 m2)£280,000£600,000-
Construction cost / construction system cost--£30,000

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

For that reason, it’s almost impossible to have one standard price for a house build project. That said, we’re going to give it our best shot to give you a breakdown of the various average costs involved to build a house.

With so many factors to consider and so many moving parts in a house build project, even the smallest change could end up having a major impact on the overall cost.

That’s why it’s important to plan ahead, calculate a budget – and then add a decent chunk of money on top as a contingency.

Trust us, whatever you budget for building a new house, you’ll spend more than you think!

Cost to build a house per square metre

A great way to get a general estimate is to think about the cost to build a house per square foot, or more typically, the cost per square metre (m²) – or cost per square foot if you’re old school.

As a ballpark cost to build a house in the UK, you can expect to pay anything from £1,400 to £3,000 per m².

Using this cost as a baseline can help you estimate how much your new home might cost to build overall. Or how much house you can build for the budget you have to work with.

Watch our video to gain a quick overview of these prices…

Average cost of building a 3 bedroom house

The typical size of a three-bedroom home is usually somewhere between 90 to 120 m², meaning the average cost of building a three-bedroom house can range from around £126,000 – £300,000.

Obviously, that price can vary massively, depending on the details of the build and the fixtures and fittings that create the final specification of your home.

How much would it cost to build a 4 bedroom house from scratch?

If you’re planning to build a four-bedroom house, then you’re most likely looking at a property in the region of 140 to 200 m².

That means the average cost of building a four-bedroom house from scratch can range from around £196,000 – £500,000.

Again, these prices are estimates based on average costs but you’ll need to dig deeper into the details of the house you’re planning to build to work out a more personalised budget for your project.

Victorian style house idea

Average cost to build a 5 bedroom house

It’s no surprise that the bigger the house, the more it’s going to cost to build.

With an expected size of around 200 – 240m², the cost of building a five-bedroom house will be somewhere in the region of £280,000 – £600,000.

The deal with bigger houses is that they also come with a greater range of costs. And it’s worth noting that small changes on a bigger property can often cause bigger increases in cost than on smaller properties.

Pre-build costs to budget for

In order to have a realistic budget for your house build, you need to factor in the costs for pre-build expenses. Here are some of the most common you’ll need to fork out for:

  • The price of the land
  • Land survey costs (make sure they cover flood risk and tree/environmental assessments) – £600 – £1,600
  • Costs of legal fees – £1,000
  • Service connection costs – if your plot isn’t connected to mains services then you’ll need to budget for this (and you or the developer should always speak to the relevant utility companies to carry out this is specialised works):
  • Planning permission costs (cost per house) – £624 (England) / £460 (Wales) / £600 (Scotland) 
  • Architectural design costs5 - 12% of the total build cost
  • Structural engineer£5,000 for a complex residential project, or £100 - £200 per hour
  • Self-build insurance cover – around 1% of total build cost

For Building Regulations, applications and visits are charged at an additional cost, which generally depends on the type of work involved, the number of dwellings in the building and the total floor area.

Local authorities base their fees on the costs of their work, like site inspections. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check with your Local Authority to understand what might be involved in your house build.

Once you’ve added up all those costs and removed them from your total budget, what’s left is the amount you’ll have to spend on actually building the house.

We strongly recommend setting aside a contingency budget for unexpected costs when planning your budget. A sensible figure is an additional 10% to 15%.

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What will be the biggest cost?

The largest chunk of money will most likely be spent on what’s known as the ‘superstructure’ of your house. That includes the main bones of the building, such as the structural walls, external cladding and the roof.

As a guide, this will probably use up about 25%+ of the total cost to build your home.

A close second, in terms of substantial costs, is the price you’ll pay for laying foundations and floor structures.

After those, each of the other segments of your house build typically tends to be around 5% to 10% of the total cost.

Self build cost calculator

Having an overall cost in mind is helpful, but what’s more useful is to take a deeper dive into the cost breakdown of the various components needed for building your new home.

The cost to build a house - use our house build cost calculator
Breakdown of cost to build a house

There are a lot of elements that combine in building a new house. Below we look at each of those elements and how much, on average, you should budget for.

New home foundations costs

The average cost to lay foundations is about £95 – £280 per LM.

The type of foundations you need will depend on the ground conditions and the local authorities regulations/conditions of planning approval.

Construction costs

The load-bearing walls of your new house will be around 15% of the total build cost, based on concrete blockwork.

If you opt for a different construction system (such as timber, structural insulated panels, insulated concrete or oak frame) you can expect the price to be higher.

Floor structure costs

In a new house, the floor structure is important to have a sturdy base on which to build your rooms.

The average cost of having a beam and block floor system is somewhere in the region of £200 - £250 per m².

Roof structure

The roof is one of the chunky parts of a house build, and one that can vary in cost depending on the size and style of roof you go for. Expect to pay £2,000 - £6,000+ for the roof structure.

External cladding costs

You have a number of options when it comes to the external cladding for your new house, each with its own respective costs:

  • uPVC cladding – £60 – £100 per m²
  • Timber cladding – £100 – £180 per m²
  • Aluminium cladding – £200 – £230 per m²
  • Rubber cladding – £70 – £90 per m²

Drainage costs

Connection costs for a new drainage system can be anywhere from £4,000 – £24,000+. The most common drainage setup is a straightforward connection to the mains.

The total drainage cost will depend on the length and depth of dig required, ground conditions, materials, labour and the cost of any road closures or road opening licenses.

You should only ever hire approved contractors to carry out drainage work.

Checkatrade electrician

Electricity costs

The cost to wire your new house can range massively, depending on the size of the property. A 1-bed house would be in the region of £3,000 - £4,800, while wiring a 5-bed house is most likely to cost closer to £7,500 - £12,500.

You might want to check out our guide to electrician costs.

Plumbing costs

The plumbing system for a new house is likely to cost around £13,000 – £24,000+. The size of your property will dictate the cost of the plumbing required:

  • 2-bed house – £14,500
  • 3-bed property – £19,000
  • 4-bed home – £21,500

For more information on plumbing prices, read our guide to plumber costs.

Central heating costs

On average, installing a boiler and central heating system can cost approximately £3,230 – £7,300+.

The main factors affecting this cost are the size of the house and the type of heating you opt for.

Carpentry costs

It’s possible that you’ll need a carpenter to work on various elements of your new home, so it’s helpful to factor in their cost. The average rate for a carpenter is around £240 – £360 per day.

Plastering costs

In the later stages of your house build, you’re going to need a reliable plasterer to work their magic. The average cost of a plasterer is around £300 per day.

Alternatively, to help you budget the average cost per square metre for plastering a wall is in the region of £24 per m2.

Want help hiring a plasterer? Check out our guide on how to find the best local plasterers.

Decorating costs

Turning your house into a home requires special finishing touches, including painting and decorating.

As a guide, you can expect the cost to paint and decorate the interior of a house to be around £325 per m2 based on the floor space.

Exterior painting for a 3-bed usually costs around £1,100 – £1,500+. That goes up to £1,750 – £2,500+ for a 4-bed detached house.

Painting a room in red

Tiling costs

One of the other finishing jobs is the tiling work in your kitchen and bathrooms. In your budget, you should allocate somewhere in the region of £110 per m² for tiling walls (materials and labour).

Similarly, you’ll want to budget around £110 per m² for tiling floors.

Flooring costs

The materials for your flooring will vary depending on the exact type and quality of the flooring you go for.

Here are some average flooring material costs in the UK:

In addition to the material cost, you should expect to budget around £240 – £300 per day for the labour costs of installing your flooring.

Garden landscaping costs

Building a house isn’t just about the building, it’s also about the outdoor space too. Therefore, you’ll probably want to include some budget for garden landscaping.

On average, a landscaper will charge about £180 - £280 per day.

Need help finding the best local landscape gardeners? Read our guide on how to find a gardener.

Other useful cost guides

If you’re looking for some extra reading, here are some other useful cost guides to read for your house build:

3D floor plan of a new home

How to budget for your house build

When it comes to building a new house, budgeting is key. Firstly, it’s a big project you’ll be taking on.

Secondly, there are so many variables that you need to know what each component is costing so you can keep it as under control as possible.

To get you started, here are some important considerations for starting the budgeting process for your house build project:

  • How are you planning to pay for the house build?
  • How much do you have in savings?
  • How much will you be borrowing or being gifted from family or loved ones?
  • Do you need to apply for a self-build mortgage?
  • What will the house be worth once it’s built?
  • Are you planning to live in the house or build it to sell it?
  • If you’re going to sell it, what equity will you have in the house after paying for the build?

Wondering how you can finance your house project? Take a look at our guide on the best ways to finance and budget for home improvements.

Home builder quotes

When managing a self-build project, you’ll need to get quotes from a range of tradespeople who you’ll involved at various points throughout the construction process.

Here are a few tips for getting home builder quotes…

  • Make sure you get multiple quotes from experienced local builders, so you can be sure you’re being quoted fair and competitive costs
  • If you speak to builders who offer to source all other tradespeople for you, do your own research on those subcontractors
  • Make sure that all tradespeople you hire have or are covered by the appropriate builder’s insurance
  • Where possible, we recommend hiring tradespeople who are approved Checkatrade members

Enter your postcode in our free search tool below to browse approved tradespeople in your area.

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Quick summary

  • Taking on a self-build project is a big undertaking and one that requires a lot of planning and skills in project management
  • It can also be one of the most rewarding experiences to go through – especially if you have the house of your dreams at the end of it
  • Building a house is a huge investment in terms of money, time and resources, so it’s important to go in with your eyes wide open
  • Make sure you have a clear, well-calculated budget in hand and a team of experienced tradespeople and professionals by your side
  • Building a house requires a lot of project management, balancing budgets, negotiating costs and coordinating workers
  • Consider hiring a construction project manager to look after the day-to-day running of the build and relieve you of the stress

FAQs

Is it cheaper to buy or build a new home?

That depends on a number of factors, including how well you can complete the build based on an accurately planned budget.

It’s often possible to build a new house for less than it would cost you to buy a new house from a developer, giving you a healthy profit at the end. But this is only if you can stick to the budget.

Additional uncontrolled spending often kills any profit margin and can make the house more expensive than buying.

How long does it take to build a house from start to finish?

The actual build process usually takes around 9 to 12 months, if everything goes to plan and there are no major hiccups. That’s not including the pre-build stage of buying land, designing and planning.

If you have issues with cash flow, labour supply, material shortages, extreme weather or personal issues then you should expect it to take longer.

Is there a good season to build a house?

Summer is generally considered the best time to build a house, mainly because the weather and temperatures in the UK are best (dry and warm) during the summer months.

Pouring concrete needs a minimum temperature of three degrees, so it’s best not to lay foundations in the colder winter months.

How much does it cost to build a 2,000 sq ft house?

Based on an average cost of roughly £1,800 per m², the total would come to somewhere in the region of £335,000.

Can you build a house for £50,000?

Yes, you can. Although it’s not common for a house build to come in at such a low cost – it will require some serious budgeting and haggling.

If you’re extremely thrifty, know how to negotiate, and have excellent DIY skills, you could potentially build a house for £50,000.

Can I get a loan to build my house?

Yes, you can indeed. There are a selection of lenders who offer self-build mortgages, designed for people wanting to build their own homes.

The application process is more complex than a standard mortgage and the funds are released in stages throughout the life of the project, pending successful site inspections by the lender.

Have you considered a self-build mortgage?

A self-build mortgage refers to a mortgage designed to cover the costs when you are building your own home.

These mortgages may be a little trickier to find than traditional mortgages, but you will still have plenty of options for self-build mortgage providers if you shop around.

Do find out more about self-build mortgages in our guide.

I’m a builder, what can I earn?

From a newly qualified builder up to being a builder business owner, the average earnings for a builder is roughly £11,000 – £57,000+ per year.

If you’re a sole trader or limited business owner, your earning potential as a builder is much higher.

Find out what you could earn as a builder.

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We check the reviews on Checkatrade are from real people, and that trades meet our high standards.

Working with professional estimators, we collate cost estimates for the common home improvement and repair jobs in the UK.

All the costs are estimates only. For accurate costs for your particular requirements, you are encouraged to reach out to professional tradespeople to receive a quote for your job.

Our estimators are Chartered Members (MRICS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Members of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB). See full disclaimer.

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