Ikea launches the £150,000 flat-pack home


Last updated at 14:25 05 October 2007

It will probably take a bit longer than a Sunday afternoon to put them up.

But the first Ikea flat-pack homes in Britain could be just the answer for those struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

Yesterday, people on low incomes were allowed to start applying for one of the cheap timber-framed homes, which begin at £99,500.

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Unlike other purchases from the Swedish store, the actual construction of the first BoKlok homes - to be built on a site in Gateshead - will be left to the professionals.

If the project proves successful, similar developments could pop up in other parts of the country.

The first batch of 60 Scandinavian timber-framed properties went up for grabs at Ikea's Tyneside store yesterday, with the two-day application process due to end today.

If demand for the properties is high, the company plans to hold a lottery, supervised by an independent scrutineer, to decide who will be allowed to purchase them.

Alan Prole, managing director of Live Smart @ Home, the company licensed to build the homes in the UK, said: 'This is a very exciting time as we are finally able to offer these fabulous homes to people.

'The BoKlok house has been designed by leading architects in both the UK and Scandinavia with the aim to provide modern, flexible family living that, importantly, is affordable.

'It is almost the only way people can get on the housing ladder - there are millions of households struggling to own their first home.

'There has already been significant interest via the website and this will give even more people the opportunity to come in to find out more and to apply to buy a home.

'No homes will be sold on the day and we guarantee that everyone who qualifies will get an equal opportunity to purchase a BoKlok home.'

The properties feature high ceilings, double glazing and will be fitted with Ikea kitchens and bathrooms, as well as the firm's trademark wooden flooring.

BoKlok flats have a 'flexible' open plan layout and large windows to give them a 'light, airy and contemporary feel'.

Ikea is planning to employ handymen to help customers with tedious tasks, such as putting up pictures and curtain poles, and purchasers will be given £250 worth of Ikea vouchers and free interior design advice to help them furnish their new home.

Buyers of the BoKloks - which means smart living in Swedish - will be offered a choice of three timber cladding options with balconies at an added cost.

At the Gateshead site, flats and houses will be available for sale as well as shared ownership, to help even more people get on the housing ladder.

As well as one-bedroom flats, two-bedroom flats are up for grabs for £124,950, two-bedroom townhouses for £132,500 (the "Molna") or £139,500 (the "Alsten") and three bedroom townhouses (the Jarnbro) for £149,950.

To be eligible, applicants must meet strict criteria, with household earnings between £15,000 and £35,000 a year who do not already own their own home receiving priority treatment.

The homes, which are being marketed through Ikea but were designed by Swedish construction firm Skanska, were invented in the mid-1990s to address the need for affordable properties in Sweden and provide people with high quality properties at a low price. They are also designed to be energy efficient.

Buyers will not be able to take the homes away from Ikea stores themselves. Instead, they will be put in touch with the developer who will keep them informed on construction progress.

Work on the St James Village site, which is near the Gateshead International Stadium and will eventually consist of around 120 flats and townhouses, is already underway and the first purchasers will be able to move in in January.

The site links to local cycle paths and there will be a 10mph speed limit for cars.

More BoKlok homes are planned for Glasgow. But the developments are not likely to be built on inner city sites, because of high land values. When owners want to move, the developers will sell their homes for them, at market value, to a buyer in the intended customer group.

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