Self-build: your chance to be both canny and discerning

Denis Minns, of DBS Homes, offers house-buyers the gift of choice

Self-build and grand designs are both  terms given to ‘building for oneself a home of one’s own’.

It is perhaps a surprising statistic that 20 per cent of new homes inBritainare self-built.

What is certain is that many of these are not literally self-built  but built by house-builders directly for their clients.

It is also the case that many are not the realisation of  complex aspirations as seen on the television show Grand Designs but  designs that conform to a more regular style and layout familiar within any neighbourhood.

Whichever way, the benefits are clear: the chance to choose design and layout, specification, fittings and finishes and often the chance to save something on the cost, too.   

Right now the Government is seeking to get more of us to build homes for ourselves.

It is part of a chaotic response to the need for more house-building to take place in a nation where the number of households is growing faster than our ability to house them.

Housing markets in theUKare increasingly resembling those of continentalEurope, where availability of finance for mortgages has traditionally been more constrained, resulting in less dynamic markets. Such markets encourage self-build by increased plot availability and development opportunities.

Self-build is a concept that has several considerable advantages to those willing to take up the challenge and – perhaps, too – fortunate enough to have a plot upon which they can build.

The great advantage to self-build is, of course, the chance to choose. Choice can get out of hand and we have all seen the consequences on the Grand Designs show. A measure of personalisation of specification or design is, however, always possible.

The tax system favours self-build, too. Buy a house for more than £2 million today and you will pay £140,000 stamp duty land tax.

Buy a plot for £1m and have a house built on it for £1m and the SDLT is just £40,000.

Add to that the zero-rated VAT on a new home and the taxman becomes your welcome dinner guest.

Instructing a registered house-builder to undertake the project for you will mean that you will not pay any VAT save on a few items.  

In the South East there is, of course, one drawback: the shortage of building land.

Buying land for building is not easy – there are few plots and many pitfalls. But there is help at hand: DBS is just one house-builder that offers assistance with plot purchase, planning and design and building code compliance

As part of the building contract, it will undertake a self-build project for its private clients.

Will we see more self-build projects to get house-building under way? I think that we will – house-buyers are canny and discerning, and self-build through a registered house-builder certainly offers them the opportunity to be both.

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