Last year the age that half had bought their own home was 34; it was 26 in 1997, according to ONS figures. ‘Affordable’ housing stretches further out of reach for the majority, what could the solution be?
According to research company Hometrack, the average salary required by a first-time buyer to purchase a home in some of Britian’s cities has risen by 18% since 2015, despite lower mortgage rates. For many, the concept of reasonably priced UK housing is not a reality.
But there are other alternatives to traditional housebuilding and ownership that could infiltrate the mass market in years to come; 3D printed and modular housing, or even choosing something more abstract like a houseboat.
Modular housing gains momentum
Modular homes are built offsite and then transported to their destination to be assembled. This offers many benefits, namely decreased costs and a much quicker delivery.
Company ilke homes offers modular housing. It focuses on medium-density, low-rise houses and apartments up to four stores. Last December, the business opened their first UK factory in Yorkshire, pushing modular housing into the mainstream.
The company aims to build 2,000 new homes a year at the factory, and then has plans to scale up production to 5,000 homes per year in the next five years.
The factory cost of a two or three-bedroom home currently sits at around £70,000, however that does not include the cost of land, onsite assembly and connecting the home to services, which could multiply the final price several times.
Following ilke is Ideal Modular Homes, who officially launched its new 70,000 sq ft flagship factory in Liverpool last week.
Gemma Darroch, head of new projects at Ideal Modular Homes told TM: “With the current housing crisis upon us, we simply need to build faster to keep up with demand, traditional methods are failing and drastically falling short of the number of homes needed. Modular construction takes less than half the time of traditional builds, meaning we can get homes on site and lived in much quicker.
“The public perception of modular housing is quickly changing, the prefabs of post WW2 had a renowned negative effect on modular construction and still some of those myths exist today.”
She concluded: “We want to deliver the future of housing, not just faster and with better quality, but through our design. We see so many homes thrown up without any thought and we want to change that. We want to deliver beautiful eco-friendly homes that actually look good not just now, but for years to come.”
The production line is now capable of creating a completed two-storey house in less than five days, this a rapid transformation of the traditional housebuilding process we have come to know.
Alongside cost and delivery time, another key benefit of modular homes is the ability to use areas of land that aren’t easily accessible. The homes aren’t built from scratch, this therefore greatly reduces the size of building sites and the number of lorries, skips and people needed onsite.
A 3D printed alternative
Claiming to be “the future of human shelter”, ICON believes they may have the answer to the housing crisis.
The company previously partnered with non-profit organisation, New Story to build one of the first 3D printed homes in America.
The house was unveiled in March last year, and was constructed using a prototype of the mobile printer ICON is producing for New Story.
The prototype features a living room, a single bedroom, bathroom, and a small office space. The production version of the printer will reportedly be able to print a single story, 600-800 sqft home in under 24 hours, and for a bargain price of just over £3,000.
The printer is designed to weigh around 2,000 pounds, be portable and also be robust enough to withstand adverse weather conditions.
The preliminary goal for this project is to create houses in El Salvador. However, there is no reason why this concept: a mobile, 3D printer that constructs affordable houses could not be rolled out across the globe.
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