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Houses under $400k

If you are considering building or buying a home, you may wonder what your budget can get you. As house prices rise, many prospective homeowners are looking for an option under $400k but the question is – what will that get you?

In this article, we outline how you can build for under $400k and share our industry advice for sticking to your budget. 

How to own a home on a budget

Affordable ways to own a home include buying an existing home, buying a small unit, or building a prefab. Find out the pros and cons of each in our recent article, or continue reading to find out what your budget will look like in reality. 

Homes for sale under $400k

While there are some existing homes for sale under $400k, there’s usually a reason. Be wary of older homes with these prices because chances are, there are some underlying issues with the condition of the house, the location, or even the property title. For example, it may be a leasehold property, need extensive renovations, or be too close to a busy motorway.

Build a house under $400k

Compared to existing homes, a new house typically offers higher energy efficiency, better building materials, and design flexibility. Additionally, the house should last for a longer time and require far less maintenance. The only consideration you need to think about is the building site, which usually isn’t included in the quote from your building company.

It’s also worth noting that not all construction methods are equal. For example, on-site construction is prone to unforeseen delays and high labour costs which often blow the budget. To ensure your $400k budget is stuck to, this will limit your options.

On the other hand, prefab construction is predictable and easy to plan according to your budget. Currently, Genius Homes have a wide range of standard designs available in the $300k to $400k range. By choosing from these off-the-shelf options and keeping customisations to a minimum, you can comfortably build within your budget. 

The only additional costs you need to consider with a prefab home are transport and site connection - water, sewage and power. These will influence the plans that are available within your budget.

Transport costs

This is dependent on two major factors; the size of the home, and the distance to site from our factory in Timaru. We can’t include indications of those here, but talk to our professional team for estimated delivery pricing in relation to your individual circumstances.

Site works and connections

This is also dependent on the final location of the house. You will need to connect the house’s services (electricity, water, sewage) to a supplier of these services. Genius Homes provides full project management and can assist with providing a list of preferred suppliers and approximate quotes. 

Sites which have access to the ‘town supply’ are normally more cost effective as rural areas often require a septic tank, and at times water holding tanks. Some sites have services at the boundary line which also makes these connections more cost effective. 

An estimated price is highly situational so best to discuss average costs with the team.

A few Genius Homes under $400k include:


House plans nzDesigned with functionality in mind, this layout has everything you need – open-plan living, a spacious bathroom, secluded bedrooms and a practical U-shaped kitchen. The stacker doors leading from the dining space to the deck create a seamless flow outdoors, making it a perfect space for enjoying sunny days.

  • 2 Bedrooms
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Toilet
  • 58.8 sqm + 13.1 sqm deck

Enquire now for our latest pricing >>

Pukaki 2

House floor plansWhether you work from home, enjoy entertaining, or are looking to downsize, the Pukaki 2 is a practical and stylish option. Complete with a home office, family bathroom, separate laundry, ample storage, and an inviting deck area, this layout is cleverly designed to adapt to modern life.

  • 2+ Bedrooms
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Toilet
  • 93 sqm + 19sqm deck

Enquire now for our latest pricing >>

Oxford 3

New home buildIf you need a 3-bedroom home, the Oxford 3 has all the amenities you need to live comfortably, such as open-plan living, built-in wardrobes, a large bathroom, and a separate toilet. The home comes fully finished with a practical kitchen, modern appliances, and floor coverings. Additional carport or garage options are also available. 

  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1 Toilet
  • 86 sqm + 4.5 sqm deck

Enquire now for our latest pricing >>

How to maximise your building budget

There are many design considerations that impact the total cost of your building project and it’s vital to know about them early on. To help you, we’ve compiled our top tips for keeping the build budget on track.  

Choose an economical floor plan

The smaller and simpler the floor plan, the more affordable the house will be to build. This reduces the materials and time your builders need, as well as the amount of back and forth between architects and consent authorities. 

Choose a building site with easy access and minimal site preparation

Foundations, site preparation, and deliveries make up a significant portion of the project so it’s worth finding a building site that’s relatively flat and easy to get to. If you build with Genius Homes, you can book an on-site consultation with us to assess your site and get an estimate for transportation costs. 

Project management

One of the most common reasons building projects run over budget is a lack of preparation and project management. According to architect and host of Grand Designs NZ, Chris Moller, "There can be a huge range of different reasons for budget blowouts… preparation is everything – when this doesn't happen, then things begin to unravel." 

Fortunately, with prefab construction, every element of the build is planned and coordinated inside the factory. This makes it predictable and easy to align with your budget right from the beginning. Once we have consulted with you about your needs, we can handle all aspects of the project, right up until the final handover. 


Standardisation with Genius Homes does not mean basic! We have a great range of standard options that are all very good quality, including carpets, flooring, fixtures, fittings and even the paint on the walls. For a more cost-effective option, select a standard design or find a showhome you like and we can replicate the layout and finishes.

Affordable new build houses 

Prefab construction is one of the most cost-effective methods for building a home as it is more efficient and predictable than the conventional on-site approach. 

The two highest costs in home construction are labour and materials. When it comes to prefabs, Genius Homes significantly reduce the time spent on your home by utilising Off Site Manufacturing (OSM) practices and by stockpiling materials in our factory. This way, we can cut these costs and pass on the savings to you. 

Genius Homes build and deliver prefab and modular homes all over the South Island. Our prefab building process offers all the appeal of a traditional home but with none of the hidden costs or complications that come with building on-site. 

As a standard inclusion, we manage the entire project for you:

  • Proposals and designs
  • Siteworks
  • High-quality materials and workmanship
  • Consent and building code compliance
  • Construction and subtrades
  • Project management
  • Internal fit-outs and finishes
  • Delivery
  • Final touch-ups 

You can have complete peace of mind that your home is built to a high standard, on schedule, and within budget. Simply find a design from our range of homes and enquire with us for a quote. 

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