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Affordable sections to build a house on

Building a house is increasingly costly and it can be difficult to know how to achieve it without breaking the bank. Many people have found that bare land is either hard to come by or too expensive and not in a suitable location leading many to buy existing homes that need a lot of ongoing maintenance, or not own a house at all. But the increase in building costs doesn’t need to be a barrier, and in fact, there are innovative ways to build that are worth looking into.

Building new vs buying an existing home

While the cost of building is a large upfront cost, buying an existing house is not any better. The national average house price is up 4.2% year-on-year at $850,000 as of June 2022, and in a lot of cases, existing homes can become money drains in terms of ongoing maintenance and upgrades.  

Even if you manage to buy a house for an affordable price, chances are you’ll end up spending thousands on it. From installing insulation to redecorating, everything adds up and with the standards of many existing New Zealand houses, it’s likely to be quite a high price. So if you can find a way to build new, it’s often the more affordable, and attractive option both in the short and long term.

Section prices in New Zealand

Desirable sections of land are hard to come by, with most of them being bought by developers and the remaining few usually being steep, far from town centres or too small. As the demand for land increases, so do the prices. In the past 10 years, section prices have gone up all around the country, with a range of $332 per square metre in the Selwyn District of Christchurch to $2,046 per square metre in central Auckland. 

Unfortunately, it is much harder to track the average price of land because they tend not to account for section size or the cost per square metre. In saying that, land accounts for 60 per cent of a median house price, a 20% increase since five years ago — that goes to show how sought after it is. In saying that, the average cost of building a house is up 15% in 2022 and is sitting at $2,582 per square metre

The most affordable districts for building in the South Island are: 

  • The Canterbury region, with an average square metre price of $2,373.
  • Marlborough, with an average square metre price of $2,574.
  • Tasman, with an average square metre price of $2,621. 

The more expensive regions in the South Island include: 

  • Otago, with an average square metre price of $3,174. 
  • Nelson, with an average square metre price of $2,964. 
  • Southland, with an average square metre price of $2,636.

How to find land to build on

Fortunately, there are some creative ways to build a new house, without having to compete for the inflated prices of bare sections. Since new houses are built according to the updated Building Code, the following options are generally more cost-effective than renovating an existing home. These methods provide high-quality, warm, custom-designed houses that suit the owners perfectly.

Replacing an existing house

Some of the most desirable land in New Zealand is already occupied by houses, but often these houses are outdated in terms of materials, insulation, and layout. To overcome this, many people are choosing to buy these properties, remove the old house and replace it with a new, modern house that adequately meets their needs. This is a great way to invest in premium land and have services already set up on the property, without having to compete with developers. There are even companies that will pay you to remove an existing property should you need the site cleared!

By using the right building method you can acquire sought-after land and have a new build house without spending a fortune. For example, the prefab building process is faster with fewer delays because most of the build is completed in a controlled and streamlined factory environment. This means the overall expense to build is far less and it can stick to a stricter timeline than conventional onsite builds.

Subdividing your existing property

For those who already own a property, subdividing and building a new house on empty land is a great step to building an additional property. Whether the new house is for you to live in, be rented out or be sold for profit, this is a great option because it capitalises on land that is currently under-utilised. 

South Island SectionsThe key to this approach is to ensure the new house is designed in a way that adds value to the land without detracting from the value of the original house. Fortunately, since smaller homes are more affordable to build, many new designs are finding ways to make the most out of a reduced footprint. For example, Genius Homes offer 2-bedroom homes and small self-contained houses that are perfect for small sections without sacrificing form or function.

Building a second dwelling

For many New Zealanders, having a second dwelling on their property is an invaluable investment. Whether it be for renting out for income or having space for guests to stay, investing in a second dwelling is both innovative and economical. If you are interested in a home and income situation or adding value to your property, a prefab build is an ideal way to use land that otherwise could have gone to waste. 

A prefab house or self-contained unit is ideally suited to second dwellings because the build process is completed off-site. This way, disruptions to the primary home are kept to a minimum and are only during final delivery and installation.

House and land packages

Some building companies offer combined house and land deals so that you can buy both in one simple transaction. These packages provide a simple, streamlined and secure solution to the housing market without the stress of organising the build process yourself. By buying directly from the building company, you’ll receive the house in completion and the property it’s built on is all included.

New build houses in New Zealand

Despite the rise in prices, there are some practical ways you can save money when building a new house. The reality of building new is that materials and labour do require a large investment, but by being strategic, there are ways to make it affordable. 

Prefab homes and modular homes are some of the popular examples around New Zealand. Unlike conventional building methods, these are more predictable and systematic so that expensive surprises and delays are dramatically reduced. Since labour costs make up a large portion of the cost of building new, this pays off in both time, money and peace of mind throughout the building journey. 

Prefab homes have quickly become one of the leading building methods in New Zealand because they are efficient, cost-effective and customisable. With the range of designs, experienced builders, and industry expertise at Genius Homes, you can have a new build house that suits your budget. Our process ensures there are no hidden costs or unforeseen issues so that the entire process is as stress-free as possible. 

For all the details and inspiration you need, download the latest prefab homes catalogue or contact our friendly team.

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