Where is the best place in the country to build your own home?
Many people dream of building their own home and designing every aspect of it to suit their own personal needs and tastes. We all have different priorities for the ideal home; whether that’s a state-of-the-art kitchen, an open-plan living space, or a bespoke garden with sleek patio slabs for entertaining guests.
But, building your own home is no easy feat and there are many challenges that you could face in making your dream home a reality. From the cost of the land you’re building on to finding the best tradespeople for the job, there’s a lot to consider before you get close to adding the finishing touches to your property.
The best places in England to build your own home
We’ve looked at a range of different factors that can affect the cost and ease of building a home and put together a Home Build Index that pulls these variables together to rank every local authority in England. Here are the locations that came out on top.
1. Newcastle-under-Lyme Home Build Index Score: 7.82
Newcastle-under-Lyme is the best place in the country to build your own home, having received a Home Build Index score of 7.82. The area benefits from a high planning approval rate of 88.29%, a comparatively low value of residential land at £1,000,000 per hectare, and lower than average construction costs in the region.
2. Telford and Wrekin Home Build Index Score 7.71
Telford and Wrekin takes second place with a Home Build Index Score of 7.71. While this part of the West Midlands has a slightly higher planning approval rate of 90.40%, the cost of residential land in the area is higher than in Newcastle-under-Lyme at £1,230,000 per hectare.
3. Fenland & Nuneaton and Bedford Home Build Index Score: 7.65
The Fenland area, situated in the East of England, is tied with the West Midlands area of Nuneaton and Bedford as the third best place to build a home, earning a Home Build Index score of 7.64. Fenland benefits from having some of the cheapest residential lands in the country at £370,000 per hectare while also having relatively few reports of rogue builders, though it’s hampered by higher than average construction costs and slightly lower rates of planning approval. Nuneaton and Bedford have much more reliable tradespeople, though the land is much more expensive at £1,370,000 per hectare.
By looking at the Home Build Index we can also identify the parts of the country where building your own home can be the most difficult. In this section, we highlight those council areas that received the very lowest Home Build Index scores.
1. Tower Hamlets Home Build Index Score: 2.78
Tower Hamlets is the council area where it is the most difficult to build your own home, having received a Home Build Index score of just 2.78. The cost of residential land in this inner London borough is incredibly high at £39,885,000 per hectare, while the planning approval rate is very low at just 51.55%. The inner London area also has much higher than average costs of carrying out construction work, adding to the potential expense of building.
2. Lewisham Home Build Index Score: 2.84
Lewisham is the second worst place in the country if you want to build your own home, with a Home Build Index score of 2.84. Another inner London borough, Lewisham has a slightly higher planning approval rate of 53.37%, while the cost of residential land is slightly lower at (a still eye-watering) £32,800,000 per hectare.
3. Richmond upon Thames Home Build Index Score: 2.93
Richmond upon Thames is the third worst place in the country if you want to build your own home, having received a Home Build Index score of 2.93. This outer London borough has a very low rate of planning approval at just 49.57%, while the cost of residential land stands at £24,600,000.
The council areas where planning permission is the easiest to obtain
Planning permission is vital for any building project, so picking an area where the council is more likely to approve your plans could make your dream home much closer to becoming a reality.
1. Bolsover, City of London, Halton &Isles of Scilly - Planning Approval Rate 100
Four different councils are tied with perfect planning approval rates of 100%, these being Bolsover, Halton, the Isles of Scilly and the City of London. While building your own house in the City of London might seem a little farfetched, the ease of acquiring planning permission in Bolsover, Halton and the Isles of Scilly makes building in these locations much easier.
The areas with the most affordable residential land
Aiming for an area where you get good value for money on the land price means you’ll have more to spend on the build, fixtures and fittings. This is also a good strategy if you’re looking to build a new home as a business venture. To get you started, and inspire you with some locations you might not yet have considered, here are the areas in the country where you can expect to pay less for residential land.
The most affordable parts of the country for construction costs
Here we can see the parts of the country where construction costs are the highest and lowest. Each region has been given a score on how far above or below the national average the costs of construction are in that area.
North East - Regional Construction Cost Score: 94
Construction is the least expensive in the North East, with the region being 6% cheaper for building costs than the national average. This means areas within the North East are great locations for an affordable home building project.
At the other end of the spectrum is inner London, where building costs are 18% higher than the national average across the UK, followed not too far behind by outer London where costs are 13% higher than average.
The regions with the most rogue builders
Employing untrained or unscrupulous workers can have a devastating effect on any building project, it can take much longer to complete and often cause costs to balloon, so areas with the fewest reports of such rogue individuals could be better places to build a home.
1.North East - Rogue Tradesperson Reports per 100,000: 93.78
The North East has the most reports of rogue builders per 100,000 people at 93.78, suggesting that it’s the worst area for unreliable tradespeople. The North West of England has the second highest rate of rogue builder reports at 92.12 per 100,000, while the East Midlands takes third place with 84.08 reports per 100,000.
The best UK cities for trustworthy builders
In addition to our Home Build Index, which compares England’s council areas on a range of housebuilding factors, we wanted to find out which UK cities have the best-reviewed builders, making them great places to find professionals for home improvements or entire house builds.
Norwich - Average Review Score: 9.82
Norwich has the best-reviewed builders in the country with an average review rating of 9.82 across a total of 1,187 individual ratings. This makes Norwich a great place to get building work done as there are plenty of high-quality and reliable tradespeople to get the job done.
Peterborough - Average Review Score: 9.80
Peterborough has the second-best builders in the country with an average review score of 9.80 across 654 reviews. Meanwhile Portsmouth, Oxford and Brighton and Hove are tied for third place, with their builders receiving an average review score of 9.77.
We wanted to find out which part of the UK is best for building your own house. To do this, we looked at UK government data on residential land costs and planning application statistics, as well as data from Cost Modelling showing the relative cost of construction in different regions compared to the national average.
In addition to these factors, we also looked at data from a Freedom of Information Request made to the Citizens Advice Bureau showing the number of reports of cowboy builders in different regions. This was paired with ONS population data that allowed us to calculate the number of rogue builder complaints compared to a region’s population.
All of these factors were combined into a single Home Build Index Score, which gave each factor equal weighting and allowed them to be ranked. This study was supplemented by data taken from Trustatrader where we found the average review score for builders in different UK cities, revealing the top 30 as the best places for reliable tradespeople.