IKEA is bringing its low-cost modular housing units to the UK
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IKEA is bringing its low-cost modular housing units to the UK

Affordable developer BoKlok, which is co-owned by IKEA and Skanska, has signed a deal with Worthing council in West Sussex to build low-cost housing in the south of England.

Worthing council has approved plans for the IKEA subsidiary to build 162 apartments on land it owns, reported the Worthing Herald.

The first apartments will be available from early 2021.

The council will be given 30 per cent of the 162 homes at cost value to be used as social housing, in return for use of the land.

 

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The remaining 70 per cent will be sold according to the developer's "left to live" model.

This means that BoKlok sets prices at a level designed to leave families with money left to live on, and promises that a single parent would be able to afford to buy a two-bedroom house from the developer.

To calculate the figure, BoKlok takes the average salary of someone in full-time employment then calculates a 25-year mortgage that would be manageable after tax and monthly living costs have been deducted.

Only one house is available per buyer and time restrictions are in place for selling them on, in order to prevent people using them as investment properties.

Market sale homes will be allocated to potential owners using a ballot system.

 

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According to council documents, the development will act as a "pilot scheme" for a "strategic relationship" between Worthing council and Boklok.

If it is successful, the two will enter into a "collaboration agreement" to deliver 500 more homes in the area.

They will work together on the acquisition of land, pursuit of planning permission and development of sites as well as delivering the apartments.

These homes will be available to local people at affordable rents – meaning the cost will be set at up to 80 per cent of the market rate. The council will lease the land for these additional homes to BoKlok, which will pay an annual ground rent.

BoKlok claims to have already delivered 11,000 homes across Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

It achieves its low price-points by prefabricating structures off site. It typically builds its homes from timber, a low-carbon material, and recycles any offcuts to make its developments more sustainable.

All its houses come with a built-in IKEA kitchen plus flooring and tiles.

 

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Although the prefabricated dwellings are sometimes called flat-pack houses, in reference to the Swedish design giant's self-assembly furniture, the homes are not self-build, although they are modular.

BoKlok previously attempted to bring its housing model to Tyneside in the north of England in 2007, but the project was hit by the 2008 financial crisis.

Other future-forward projects involving IKEA include a series of home accessories that harvest energy from the sun, and robotic furniture designed to help people living in small homes maximise their floorspace.