18 Affordable Self Build Homes for Under £200,000

From tiny homes, to portable cabins – and even family dwellings, take a look at this collection of affordable self build homes to see what you can build on a budget
Articles by Build It magazine
by Build It
21st May 2023

While it may be fun to read about big-budget dream homes, most of those undertaking self-build projects have more modest targets. More recently, many are choosing to create bespoke and affordable self build homes that can grow with them, paying attention to how their build can suit their needs for now and in the future.

Innovation and smart thinking both come to the forefront when planning a budget build, and this brings many amazing opportunities for the construction and location of a home.

You may decide to opt for a secluded rural plot, a solar powered hot water system or invest in more economical building materials, to name a few. These choices will lead you to an amazing value home that works with your tight budget.

Your project route and experience will also have a big bearing on the final cost of your dream self build project. If you’ve got the time and skills to go DIY, for instance, you could make major savings. But bear in mind that biting off more than you can chew might lead to delays and even the cost of getting work redone properly.

Here, we delve into some great examples of unique, resourceful and affordable self build homes, all built for a maximum of £200,000 – many of them for much less. If you’ve been waiting to finally get underway with that self-build on a budget, these are the perfect points of inspiration.

If you’re looking to start your affordable self build home project, get an accurate breakdown of your estimated costs with our free Self Build Cost Calculator.

1. Affordable Self Build Home in Scotland: £190,000

Dene and Debbie Happell have created this contemporary timber frame home in the Trossachs National Park, which pleased local planners following its sympathetic materials and striking design.

striking affordable self build with dark cladding and expansive glazing

Photo: Douglas Gibbs

The couple, who have gained ample experience through their own their design and build company Nest , were after somewhere to call their holiday home. Debbie’s parents had purchased a property looking over Loch Venachar and soon suggested that the couple build over a large rundown shed that existed on the site.

Luckily, local planners had been looking to promote modern architecture to attract tourism to the area.

scandi-style interior with herringbone wood floor

Photo: Douglas Gibbs

So, what came next was their remarkable new home, completed alongside Cameron Webster Architects and using Fleming Homes’ timber frame shell that arrived on site with insulation already installed. “We chose this build method for speed and price,” says Dene.

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2. Self Build Beach Home: £77,000

Island farmers Saira Renny and George Carr decided to embark on a self build project on the Hebridean Isle of Eigg with the goal to create an eco-home that could benefit from striking coastal views.

affordable self build looking out over the coast

Photo: David Barbour

The island has a strong communal feel and they celebrate sustainable design in order to create a local environment with low carbon emissions. These considerations became central to the couples build, and they worked alongside an architectural technician to come up with a suitable design to support this. “Embracing renewables and building a super-insulated house were central to the scheme,” says George.

Planning your self build project but don’t know how much it’ll cost you? Read our guide to How Much Does it Cost to Self Build a House in 2023?

small kitchen with vaulted ceiling in an affordable self build home

Photo: David Barbour

The open-plan timber frame home took the couple 16 months to complete and has been fit with renewables which combine to make the property an environmentally friendly and cost-effective home. “We were helped by a 70% green grant from the Eigg Trust; this allowed us to install the solar thermal array, which warms the property’s water,” says George.


3. Compact Post and Beam Retreat: £171,500

Photo: Douglas Gibb

“We’d always wanted to create a post and beam house and we couldn’t believe it when we found the firm so close by. Proprietor, Chris Houston, and his team cut down trees and erect amazing buildings from them,” says Sukie.

The build is constructed with Douglas fir tree trunks, which were turned into posts and beams and then notched and mortised together to form the frame of the house.

Custom-built steel and timber stairs

Photo: Douglas Gibb

The post and beam build uses eco-friendly features to make the home as sustainable as possible. For instance, when the sun shines, up to 5kW of electricity is generated by a solar PV array and the remaining power is supplied by Good Energy.


4. Rural Self Build in Wales: £170,000

Winner of the Build It Award 2022 for Best Self Build for Under £250k, this affordable self build project was completed for under £170,000.

Detached brick house with garden

Photo: Camilla Reynolds

Leanne Player wanted to stay in her local area but found that house prices were simply unrealistic. Luckily, Leanne’s parents had a plot of land on the outside of the village, which they gave to her with the goal in mind to self build. After planning was granted, the timber frame build took 12 months to complete.

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5. Highland Home with Sea Views: £122,400

Winner of the 2022 Build It Award for Best Self Build under £250,000, this nifty and affordable self build home combines a sleek yet cosy design that has maximised it’s difficult building location perfectly. The family, who relocated from Britany in France to Loch Broom in the Scottish Highlands, completed their self-build in 12 months with the assistance of local design and build company; North Woods Design.

Side view of the self build home with views over Loch Broom

Photo: John Paul

With the ledge positioning of the site, Proprietor, Bernard Planterose, advised that the site should be excavated before detailed plans were drawn up. This is an unusual course of action but was a requirement for understanding the exact nature of the plot’s underlying rock.

It was revealed that the rock under the hillside suddenly dips away to reveal a series of cliffs underneath, with a slope of around 60°.

This challenge was overcome through constructing a ledge with terraces, and a structural engineer was brought in to collaborate on the design of the supporting steelwork so the house could sit safely.

Living room large windows and sea views

Photo: John Paul

The result is a modest and contemporary home with a self-contained frame, which Bernard has said “helped enormously with the efficiency of construction and material use”.

Utility efficient too, the one stove is responsible for the home’s heating and fitted solar thermal panels on the roof provide the family with hot water.


6. Straw Bale Eco Home: £199,000

Determined to use renewable materials wherever possible, Kim Siu opted for a timber frame structure, straw bale insulation and locally grown larch cladding. Not only was this a sustainable approach but it also helped make the new home blend into its surroundings.

The prefabricated timber panels were craned into place with the straw sealed inside.

Photo: Nigel Rigden

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7. Coastal Self Build Home: £124,000

John and Ann-Marie Mitchell created an efficient and compact self build home on the coastal haven of the Isle of Harris. The croft – which had been in the family for generations – already had outline planning permission, so the couple were able to go ahead with drawing up plans for what ended up becoming a charming property with breathtaking views over the shore.


Photo: John Mayer

They even named their house after the place where Ann-Marie’s late grandfather was born to pay homage to him.

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8. Compact Affordable Self Build: £64,660

After failing to find a suitable property on the open market, Jennifer Hope decided to build her own – and in doing so has created an affordable home that’s ideal for first time buyers

The Wee House Affordable Homes example

Photo: Margaret Soraya

Inspired by Scottish estate-style homes, she designed a modest home that could be delivered on the back of a single lorry.

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9. Straw Bale House in Gloucestershire: £70,000

In the true of spirit of self build, Alison & Stuart Sedgwick-Taylor took a DIY route to constructing their characterful straw bale home.

Strawbale home gardenThe original budget, including a contingency fund, was set at £30,000. However, this proved to be a little optimistic, as the final costs amounted to £70,000.

But the finished house – a 25m2 property combining a central living/bedroom space with two pods for the bathroom and kitchen – represents excellent value for money.

see the home

Interested in creating a natural and affordable self build home? Read our beginner’s Guide to Straw Bale Building

10. Tiny House Mobile Cabin: £70,000

With only a small budget available, Freddie Pack who claims he “always had a passion for tiny homes”, decided to get creative with his self build. Freddie’s background in farming gave him the idea to build a cabin on a trailer. With no need for foundations, the couple were free to select their perfect location.

Tiny mobile cabin house

Photo: Richard Gadsby

Subsequently, they settled on a spot with breathtaking, rural views. Three sets of acrow props take the weight of the cabin off the trailer’s suspension.

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11. Japanese-Style Eco House: £81,800

Japanese-Style Eco House

Photo: Alexandra Pratt

Joshua Penk delayed going to university to design and build his award-winning eco home. The result is a striking single storey, two bedroom property built in a curve, using a post and beam system with cedar cladding and a spectacular glazed south elevation. He completed his self build project at a cost of just £372 per m2.

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Read More: 10 Sustainable Eco Houses to Inspire your Project

12. Affordable Self Build Family Home: £105,000

Thanks to her assured project management and the help of her sons, Lynda Williams was able to build a charming three bedroom home.

Value engineering means the house features a hidden softwood timber frame, with oak used for the exposed trusses to add drama.

Budget Family Home

Photo: Vince Hart / Warwick Sweeney

Above all, this gives the house a premium feel that belies a budget of just £100,000 – made possible through design choices that reduced labour and material costs.

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13. Cornish Knock Down & Rebuild: £120,000

Knock Down & Rebuild in Cornwall

Photo: Alexandra Pratt

Despite numerous planning setbacks and having to partly clad their new property in expensive granite, the Collins successfully self built a charming modern cottage for just £120,000.

Natural materials such as slate and oak give the home a quality finish, while underfloor heating throughout keeps the solid surfaces feeling cosy.

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14. Sustainable and Affordable Self Build Home: £140,000

Barbara Manson decided to downsize and build an off-grid home in time for retirement. “Because of the tight budget, I installed pine flooring rather than oak , but I invested in Scottish made Tree Craft windows.” She enlisted the help of an architect to build her a contemporary dwelling that would keep her mortgage free.

sustainable and affordable self build home

Photo: Jenny McBain

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15. Low-Cost Fisherman’s Cottage: £149,800

Greig and Kathleen Munro, who work together at an architectural practice, were committed to using their expertise to prove that a small budget doesn’t prevent excellence. Driftwood Cottage takes a very simple form and its white acrylic lime render ensures it blends in with the traditional buildings that surround it.

Low-Cost Traditional Fisherman’s Cottage

Photo: John Paul

It is essentially a three bedroom cottage with two bathrooms, a home office and an open plan living space. Two lean-to wooden structures have been bolted on at either end. These display a vibrant splash of blue on the outside and add interest to the shape of the rooms within.

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16. Model Kit Affordable Home: £150,000

As a local councillor, Bryan Stuart was frustrated by his constituents being priced out of the housing market. “Having been born and brought up in the countryside, I’ve seen the impact a lack of affordable housing has on local people.”

Model kit affordable self build home

Photo: Margaret Soraya

His striking new home is a prototype for affordable timber kit houses and features a novel use of Scots pine cladding. This has been heat-treated to achieve the durable, low maintenance qualities of a hardwood at a fraction of the cost.

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17. Rural Timber Lodge: £160,000

Set on a 60m2 footprint in the Ballater conservation area, this compact timber cabin is a replacement dwelling for a cottage that was damaged by flooding.

Brown & Brown Architects kept the costs down to just £160,000, creating a spacious one-bedroom home with built-in flood resilience. The project is a finalist in the Aberdeenshire Architectural & Landscape Design Awards.

18. Small Island Self Build: £170,000

While a cost of £3,208 per m2 might not scream value, the enviable Henley-on-Thames location of Peter and Marsha Myers’s New England style build meant their budget was well spent.

Small island affordable self build home

Photo: James French

A significant portion of their total spend went into surveys, professional fees and engineered foundations, which comes with the ground water conditions.This stunning riverside abode, along with its private mooring, now serves as the perfect spot to relax.

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This article has been updated with new content in September 2022. Additional content by Sander Tel 

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