Younger people most interested in designing and building their own home

Nearly half of 18 to 24-year-olds are interested in designing and building their own home, according to a new survey.

People are looking for homes they can design to their exact needs, as well as adapt to meet their future requirements. A third claim that building their own home would have less impact on the environment, while 9 in 10 see energy efficiency as important.

The survey, from self-build campaign group the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA), was published as part of Right to Build Day, an annual date when councils must show they have matched numbers on their Right to Build registers with ‘sufficient development permissions’ granted.

As one of the UK’s biggest warranty providers, LABC Warranty provides a dedicated self-build policy for self- and custom-build projects across England and Wales and has seen interest in self-build grow steadily throughout the last decade.

Younger people more interested in self-build

According to the survey, interest in self- and custom-build homes was nearly three times higher (48%) for 18 to 24-year-olds as those aged 55 and over (18%).

Overall, a third of those questioned (32%) said they were interested in designing and building their own home, with 9% stating they had intentions to carry out their own project, rather than ‘dream about it.’

The main obstacle (59%) facing prospective self-builders is finance. Solutions for funding can include obtaining a structural warranty, which in some cases allow for staged payments.

Where are self- and custom-build homes being built?

Despite more expensive land values, LABC Warranty’s analysis of self- and custom-build homes shows that more than 60% of such projects are built in the east and the south of England, including Greater London.LABC Warranty Self Build Map

Self-build homes are most likely to be built in the east of England (19.89%), followed closely by the south east (18.19% and the south west (16.1%). They are least likely to be built in the north east and in Wales1.

Are self- and custom-build homes more sustainable homes?

A third of those questioned in the NaCSBA survey said living in a home that had less impact on the environment and was more sustainable was a key benefit of building a home (33%), while an overwhelming 89% said energy efficiency would be important to their self-build project.

Interestingly, LABC Warranty finds that fewer than 1 in 10 self-build projects2 employ innovative or modern methods of construction, techniques and technologies frequently associated with more sustainable and energy-efficient builds.

The impact of the pandemic on home aspirations

Covid-19 has had an impact on self-build aspirations. One in 20 respondents said they had considered going on to design and build their own home as a response to the crisis.

Tallying with findings elsewhere, 39% of people stated the need for a home office while 31% have considered making home improvements as they re-evaluate their living space.


1 Based on a survey sample of 764 self-build projects started since November 2018
2 Based on a survey sample of 934 self-build projects

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.

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