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What is a modular home and how much does it cost?

Building a house is a major investment – in time, money, and energy. To get it right, you need to be clear on your options. If you’re looking for a way to build without all the usual pitfalls, modular houses may have caught your attention. After all, they’re affordable, efficient, and simple.

In this article, we dive into what modular homes are, what their benefits are, and how much they cost in New Zealand.

What is a modular home?

A modular home can be characterised by the following attributes:

  1. They’re pre-built (partially or fully) in an offsite location.
  2. The completed parts (modules) are transported to site.
  3. The modules are connected to form the final structure.

The ‘pre-built’ aspect is commonly called prefabrication. Let’s explore what that means in more detail.

Modular homes NZ

Modular houses are a type of prefab, which means they’re fully built in a factory and delivered to the site. Once installed, they are permanent and designed to last like a conventional house. The key difference with a modular house is that it is built in separate sections. These pieces are assembled after delivery – ready to call home in a few short weeks. 

Advantages of modular & prefabricated houses include: 

  • No weather delays
  • Low contractor costs
  • Easy compliance
  • Customisable plans

In New Zealand, modular houses are increasingly popular. While they used to be boxy and limited, there is now a range of innovative designs to choose from. Whether it’s a large family home or a small pod-like unit, you’re sure to find a prefab or modular home to fit your needs. 

The difference between modular homes and prefab homes

Prefab homes that are built and delivered in a single piece are not modular. For example, the Sefton is a large 3-bedroom house that fits on the truck in one piece and is completely weathertight before it leaves the factory. When a prefab is delivered, the only site work to do is fixing it to the foundations, final touch-ups, and completing utility connections. 

On the other hand, a modular house has one additional step – joining the separate pieces together. For example, our Benmore design is built and delivered in three parts, making it a modular prefab. 

Benefits of modular construction

Want to know why modular prefabrication is so popular? We’ve outlined the key advantages below:  

Faster construction

Modular prefabrication takes place in a controlled factory environment, ensuring the project is not at the mercy of the weather. The consistent factory settings and fewer weather delays mean tradespeople can complete each task on schedule and within budget. 

Customised house plans

While modular houses used to be known for their boxy, hard-to-adapt shapes, things have evolved. Now, you can adapt your modular home to suit your needs. From adding another bedroom to switching up the kitchen layout, there are plenty of ways to personalise your modular house plan. 

Building without stress

With precise specifications, faster construction, and a controlled process, the modular method is relatively effortless for the homeowner. Every detail is carefully worked out in advance, meaning you can start enjoying the benefits of a new house without the prolonged stress of the construction process. 

Affordable new homes

Due to the time savings and efficiency of prefab construction, modular houses are typically more affordable. In a nutshell, the quality of the house is still high but you’re not paying the same high prices for labour and travel each day. 

Pricing of modular homes

Modular houses are usually more cost-effective than traditional conventional homes due to the efficient building process. Pricing can vary greatly depending on the following factors:

  • The size of the house
  • The materials used
  • The location of the construction site
  • The number of sections
  • The number and complexity of customisations

For reference, the upfront cost of our prefab houses starts at around $145,000 and ranges up to about $560,000, this spans one-bedroom units and large five-bedroom homes. Please note that these prices refer to our single-piece prefab houses which are not modular, and do not include transport costs. 

Transport costs for modular homes

With transportable homes, you also need to consider the cost of delivery which can cost anywhere from a few thousand to $40,000. This depends on the size, distance from the original location, and the number of pieces it is transported in. When planning a modular prefab, speak with your building company for an accurate delivery quote.

Our popular modular house — the Benmore

If you’re looking for the ultimate modular home in New Zealand, look no further than our popular Benmore design. This is one of our more popular prefab house plans that is modular and is built and transported in 3 separate pieces. These include a generous open-plan living area, a private bedroom wing, and a practical entryway. 

The Benmore is the ideal house plan for entertaining, with a practical U-shaped layout and a spacious deck accessed through sliding doors. Features of the Benmore include: 

  • Open-plan living 
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 2 toilets
  • A large sheltered deck
  • A walk-in wardrobe

With all things considered, the starting price of the Benmore is $542,000. This price covers consultations, design edits, building materials, construction, Code of Compliance, building consent, labour, site installation, and other contractors. Transport costs for a Benmore being delivered depend on your location so book a free onsite consultation to get an accurate quote.

Genius Homes prefabs

For a high-quality house with minimal hassle, the Genius Homes approach is difficult to beat. Our process is streamlined, cost-effective, and coordinated by our experienced team from start to finish. All you have to do is move into your brand-new house in a matter of months.

We offer a variety of prefabricated house designs to choose from, ranging from small 1-bedroom units to spacious 4-bedroom family homes. Simply find a plan you like and request a free, no-obligation quote today.

Contact us today to discuss your genius homes dream home

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