Swedish firm, Ikea, is set to build on its empire after being given the go-ahead to build 162 flats in the UK. BoKlok (which means ‘live smart’) is the team behind the venture which is jointly owned by Ikea and construction firm, Skanska. The company specialises in factory-built homes that can be constructed at low cost.
The flats have been approved by Worthing Borough Council. Typically, properties in Worthing cost almost twelve times the local salary but BoKlok intends to set property prices at a level where people can afford to live after they have paid their housing costs. BoKlok claims to ‘make it possible for people with average incomes to realise their dream of owning a home of their own’.
Office for National Statistics figures show that in most of England and Wales in 2018 the average house price was 7.8 times the average salary, putting Worthing at the top end of the house price scale. The council agreed that access to a decent home in the area for someone on a normal working wage was challenging. It was also noted that a one-bedroom property was all that most people could afford; meaning that housing in the area was out of the question for low income families.
The council plans to license the developer to use the land and charge it a ground rent, instead of selling the land. The council will receive 30% of the properties built, which it will rent to local people in the area as affordable housing. The remaining properties will be sold based on the ‘left to live’ affordability model, enabling people to live in an affordable home within their means.
When the homes are complete they will, of course, be fitted with an Ikea kitchen, flooring and wall tiles. The properties will range from one bedroom flats to three bedroom apartments which will be suitable for single people and families.
Worthing councillor, Kevin Jenkins, described the current housing market as “extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work” which made it difficult for them to get on the housing ladder. He said: “This proposal could change that and give hard-working individuals a chance to buy their own home – without having to leave the area.”
Work is not due to begin on site until September 2020, when the plans are finalised. The first of the factory built homes will be delivered and assembled at the beginning of 2021, and residents should be able to move into their new homes in April 2021.
If the housing scheme is successful, more affordable homes like this could follow with the council and Boklok agreeing a programme to provide another 500 homes in the area. This project could be the way forward for councils and developers to work together to create affordable homes for people in need. Councils across the country are starting to get on board, and Croydon recently set up a company called Brick by Brick.
How does BoKlok housing work?
BoKlok was formed in the early 1990s, when Ikea and Skanska joined forces to create homes in the Nordic region. The partnership has successfully built homes in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway with 11,000 properties completed since 1997. Some of the smaller apartments can even be built in a day. The flats range from 31 to 85 square metres and larger houses range from approximately 110 to 117 square metres.
The company’s ethos is to be more environmentally friendly with minimal impact on the surrounding areas. They use mostly wood, which it says is ‘the most climate neutral and natural building material to use’.
BoKlok recycles most of its leftover materials, throwing away less than one per cent as waste. Its carbon footprint represents less than half of ‘normal’ building projects. And unlike most of what Ikea produces, ‘flat-packs’ are not part of the process!
At present, the company is limiting its home building to the south and west of England but, if successful, Ikea homes could be coming to an area near you. Whatever type of home interests you, ask a chartered surveyor to overlook the property and offer advice.