Cheapest Way To Build a House in New Zealand [2024] 

Do you want to invest in building a house cheaply in New Zealand? Building your own home is an excellent way to own space without leaving a hole in your pocket. Let us tell you everything you need to know about going into the housing market and what is the cheapest way to build a house. 

The cheapest way to build a house in New Zealand is to opt for a small and sustainable home, like a tiny house. A smart homeowner also should know the ups and downs in the housing market. You will need to have a detailed budgeting plan. Don’t forget the contracts and permits, which will add up some costs.

In this article, you will learn about the best ways to build a house in New Zealand without spending a fortune. Hang around to learn more! Don’t forget to check this article on land prices, as you probably will need to purchase one for your future house.

Cheapest types of houses to build

As a general rule, the larger the house, the greater the costs will be. To save you some costs and go cheaper, here is a list of the most affordable types of houses to build:

1. Shed homes

Image credit: customkit.co.nz

One of the cheapest houses you can build is the shed house. It’s simply a tiny house built from a shed. It isn’t just a little extra garage or garden space. It’s a fully functional home for living in.

Shed homes are becoming popular in New Zealand because of their reduced costs of construction. It’s more or less a DIY construction with basic skills such as electrical, drywall, and plumbing.

The initial starting price for a shed house with a stable concrete slab on good land is NZ$1,500 to NZ$1,800 per square meter. This is half of the average building cost per square meter.

Besides not costing much, shed homes are easily customizable and don’t require much maintenance.

Taking a loan for a new build? Here are some of the easiest banks and ways to get a mortgage.

2. Flat pack houses

Flat pack homes or prefab homes are houses that are pre-built offsite and are ready for construction once onsite. They are also often called Kitset homes, but there are some differences.

The pre-cut components are constructed in a factory beforehand and then sent to the construction place for putting together. When you buy a prefab home, it will come pre-built and with a kitchen, so you don’t have to put everything together yourself or hire someone.

A cheap flat pack house will cost around at least NZ$58,000 for the materials, with the upfront cost being NZ$75,000. There is a range of types and home structural elements available for customization with this house type.

The idea of such homes is that it reduces effort, costs, and time while maximizing efficiency. Another added benefit is that most flatpack houses are eco-friendly as they use the latest technology.

3. Tiny houses

The cost of living and the post-pandemic period is one of the greatest driving forces behind the popularity of tiny houses.

These houses are budget friendly and offer a sustainable lifestyle. Most tiny houses are about 37 square meters on average and come along with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and a sort of living space. 

This simple design and layout reduce the need for excessive materials and utilities, thus making them cheap. However, remember that mortgage processes may be tricky and difficult to secure.

In New Zealand, the price of a tiny house lies on both ends of the spectrum. It can go as low as NZ$20,000 for the cheapest, budget-friendly option or as high as NZ$200,000 for a luxurious space to live in.

4. Kitset homes

Kitset homes are some of the most affordable but warm and reliable home types in New Zealand. That said, they are less solid than Flat pack homes or prefab homes.

The average starting price of the kit is about NZ$2,000 per square meter. The benefit of Kitset homes is that they come premade; you can even assemble the house yourself!

There are no such things as cutting timber, fixing a gib, or using a paintbrush. With many Kitset providers, you don’t need to be a “Licensed Building Practitioner” to assemble the house.

5. Ranch/farmhouse

Image credit: QFSE Media

A popular and cheap home style in New Zealand is the ranch home or a good old farmhouse. A ranch house is a rectangle shape house with a low-pitched roof.

These houses are typically single-story structures with an open layout and a patio or garage space in front. With such a simple and elegant structure, the price goes down a lot.

The construction plan can be customized according to your preferences, budget, and need. Another thing is that they come in a variety of shapes, designs, and sizes to suit your cost best.

A stick-built home with the simplest layout there ever is, there couldn’t be anything more budget-friendly. Kiwis find this house to be their dream house, even for families with kids.

What about the land, though?

How much does it cost to build a house in New Zealand in 2024?

Buying a house in New Zealand is more convenient but will leave a huge dent in your pocket. This is where building a home comes in with its cost-reducing strategies and DIYs.

The average cost of the building falls into NZ$2,000 – NZ$3,000 per m2 without any luxuries. If you want a more exclusive project, expect to pay at least NZ$4,000 per square meter.

The average cost to build a good quality house is going towards NZ$3,500 m2, and it’s recommended to budget this amount because costs always add up during the project.

Moreover, in June 2022, Stats.govt.nz showcased the national average cost to build a house which is NZ$2,325 per square meter.

Below you can see a table with the average cost of building a new house per square meter in New Zealand in 2022, by region, according to Statista.com.

RegionAverage cost per m² (NZD)
North island average$2,778
Hawke’s Bay$3,014
Bay of Plenty$2,833
West Coast$2,629
Source: statista.com.

From the following data, you can see that building a house in Otago and Wellington region is the most expensive idea.

The main expenses of building a house aren’t just dependent on the cost of the house itself. They include several other factors, such as the cost of the layout, materials, construction, land, and much more. It also varies according to the location or region of choice. 

Now, let’s get to how much it costs to build a house in New Zealand. The extent of inflation, thanks to COVID in the global real estate market, is no more a big surprise.  

But with the significant increase in the cost of living, the post-pandemic period brings good news for all of us! The costs of building a house have eased nationwide. 

Although it does depend on several factors, the value of New Zealand’s housing stock has fallen, with the housing market value dropping by 12.2%.

An overview of the average costs of building a new house by a few regions is as such:

RegionAverage new-build priceAverage cost per m² for building a house
Bay of Plenty$450,370$2,833
West Coast$352,346$2,629
Source: mortgages.co.nz and statista.com

Now, let’s consider the average building cost per square meter in New Zealand. As of 2023, the average building cost per square meter is NZ$2,459, which is a NZ$100 increase from last year.

Reports show that the cost of building new houses is increasing. According to Cordell Construction Cost Index, the cost of building a 200 m² house rose by 1.7% in the last quarter of 2022. 

Government statistics also depict a similar view. Data shows that there has been an increase of 13% in residential costs by December 2022.

This might be getting a little bit confusing. Let us clear it up for you this way – what’s happening is that the building costs are up by 6.4% only as compared to the national average of 13%. Why?

That’s because the cheapest way to build a house is to build a smaller one. How small? The houses that are being made now are 9 m² smaller, which saves up around NZ$25,380 or 6% of the price of an average home.

For a single family, a home of about 70 square meters could be more than enough. Yet, a family of four would feel more comfortable on about 100 m2 and more.

Now that you know how much it costs to build a house, you’re probably wondering about how to lessen those costs.

If you need to take a loan to build a house, read this article about home loans.

Reduce construction costs

Here are some of the ways to reduce the costs of building a house:

  • Have a detailed budget

If you want to figure out the cheapest way to build a house, you need to have a detailed budget. It’s the basics for all your plans.

Do not think that those rough estimates in your mind are good enough – they aren’t. What you need to do is to have a complete breakdown of all the costs from land to construction, materials, and layout — everything.

Excel sheets or any other sort of spreadsheet are ideal to open your eyes to this money-saving opportunity. Take into consideration every detail and also allow for some surplus hidden costs.

If you’re getting an initial quote from the builders, look through it to add to your specifications. Also, consider inflation, as the initial quotes may not be valid by the time you start building.

  • Consider your materials

Another thing most people do not think about is their choice of materials. Nowadays, there are a variety of substitutes or suitable alternative materials available for everything without making much difference in terms of quality or looks.

Remember that you don’t always have to choose the most expensive, high-grade materials for your house to look good. You can work just as well with a diversity of low-cost alternatives which are strong and stable.

Choosing less expensive glass-to-ceiling windows, tile floors, shelves, and cladding will not only save you money at the moment but also save you money in the construction process.

The market has a lot of options ranging in colors, prices, materials, quality, durability, and more. 

  • Do it yourself

Yes, building a house is in the hands of professionals for both safety and legal reasons. But you know what? You don’t have to hire a qualified person for every single task.

Take on some of the tasks yourself. If you have had some experience and can lend a helping hand, go for it. Such duties may include painting, drilling holes, bringing materials, or any other skill you are confident in.

Just be careful not to be overconfident about your DIY abilities. Because if it goes in the wrong direction, you may end up paying more than having a professional do it.

  • Go vertically, not horizontally

If you want both, a big home and reduced costs, think vertically instead of horizontally. If you go in the horizontal direction, that will take up more land and, eventually, more costs.

But if you stack it up and go for vertical construction, you can reduce your land costs. Constructing levels may get a bit difficult, so make sure you have it discussed with your contractors first.

This is one of the easiest ways to cut down on the costs of the building process. But do not miss any critical details – so, discuss it with professionals before you even start planning. Also, consider the laws and permits of your region to avoid trouble.

  • Build a smaller house

One of the most common practices of building cheaply in New Zealand is going for smaller homes. 

Over recent years, New Zealand is trending toward building smaller homes, the average size ranges between 120 to 170 square meters. But this doesn’t mean you can’t build a smaller house, in fact, many people are happy with just 50 – 70 m2 homes.

The houses that are being built now are 9 m2 smaller, which saves up around NZ$25,380 or 6% of the price of an average house. Besides the initial cut down of expenses, a smaller home tends to cost less to manage and maintain in the long run. 

Consider your needs and work your way according to that. Do you need that extra room, balcony, or shed? No, right? Then, think about smaller home designs to work with and consider reducing the planned parameters of your new build.

  • Work with group builders

Working with individual builders means you need to have multiple contractors. This means more hassle and more money.

So, instead of trying to align multiple contractors and paying them hefty amounts, work with group builders. Group builders have plans and fixed prices that are cheaper.

The good thing about good builders is that you don’t have to run around looking for them. The companies provide a detailed plan of how long and how much it is going to take.

Most Kiwis go for this option so that they don’t have to worry about such details, And worry not! Customization is also available according to your needs and demands.

Cheapest companies to build a house in New Zealand

Since you have got it all sorted out now, the next step is to check which companies are the cheapest to build a house in New Zealand.

Here are some of them:

  • QuickBuild Homes 

QuickBuild Homes build affordable Kitset homes. The price starts from NZ$1,999 for m2. A Kitset house which is 72 square meters in size, costs only NZ$38,000 plus a kitset price of NZ$1,999 for m2 on average.  In addition, they build them super fast!

  • A1homes

A1homes offers Transportable and kit homes within New Zealand and for export! They have a range of projects from 60 to 250 square meters. Their homes arrive pre-made and prepared for gib stopping, and painting, including the kitchen, plumbing, and electrical fittings – everything is supplied.

The pricing of A1homes is one of the most attractive parts where you can purchase a 75 m2 house for about NZ$191,974. The exact price will depend on your location and other factors like changes in the cost of materials, services, and labor. 

  • Build Tiny

Build Tiny is a tiny house builder company situated in Katikati, in the Bay of Plenty region. This company is a custom house builder that works according to your needs and preferences.

Each house is designed and built on your budget, your specifications of materials, and your taste. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, whether you need a living space or not — everything is constructed according to your plan.

An average 8×2.4m house costs between NZ$185,000 to NZ$200,000.

  • Stonewood Homes

Stonewood Homes are one of the best custom design house companies in all of New Zealand. Located in Whangarei, they have show-home locations in the majority of the suburbs.

This company is known for building durable and quality houses at the minimum price possible. The cost of complete, well-furnished group housing costs around NZ$450,000.

  • Jennian Homes

Jennian Homes is yet another company that builds houses at a cheap rate. They offer multiple house-and-land plans to their customers.

This company values customers the most and provides flexible, cost-effective options.

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