One in three people (32%) are interested in self-build, but being able to finance it remains the biggest barrier, according to research from the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA). 

Only 9% of people said they were likely to build their own home at some point in the future, while around 5% of new homes are currently being built as custom and self build annually.

Interest was found to be highest in the young, with 48% of those between 18 and 24 saying they were interested, compared to 18% of those aged 55 and over.

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The main benefit for building was seen as the ability to design a home to the owner’s exact specifications (74%), followed by the ability to create a home that can adapt to meet current and future needs (50%).

Finding the money to finance the project, including mortgage finance, was seen as the biggest hurdle (59%).

A third (33%) said living in a home that had less impact on the environment and was more sustainable was a key benefit, and 89% said energy efficiency would be important if they were to build a home.

In response to COVID-19, the data showed that 39% said the pandemic has made them need a home office space, 48% said they would like more space in general, 36% said they would like more indoor space, and 37% said they would like more outdoor space.

Nearly a third (31%) have considered home improvements at some point in the future as a result of lockdown, while 5% considered designing and building their own home in response to the crisis.

Despite legislation in 2015 and 2016, the survey found that 83% of people had never heard of the registers held by local authorities of people who would like to build their own home.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of NaCSBA, said: “The current lack of choice in our new homes market makes it different from every other country and every other consumer market.

“Only when there is diversity of choice will we get the diversity of homes that we want and need.”

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgages and housing at the BSA, said: “It’s great to see that there are so many aspiring self and customs builders, particularly among the youngest generation (18-24yrs).

“Increased levels of home working this year have led many to realise the importance of future proofing their homes to suit their individual needs.

“Mutual lenders are leading the way to help these self-build dreams become a reality, with 21 building societies currently lending to people building their own homes, they are the clear choice for many and are leaders in this space.”