Ikea wants to build homes in Britain that cost what the buyer can pay

Ikea is a well-known brand for its affordable yet durable furniture. Now, the company is looking to venture into a new goal – to build homes in Britain that everybody can afford.

Worthing, a town in England, is planning to collaborate with developer BoKlok, a joint venture of Ikea and Skanska, a construction company in Sweden.

If the plan pushes through, it will be BoKlok’s first development in the United Kingdom since a previous project of theirs was halted when the global financial crisis occurred. BoKlok, whose name translates to “live smart” in Swedish, has built over 11,000 houses throughout Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway.

Ikea store to build homes.
Facebook | IKEA

The proposal, which will undergo a more thorough financial analysis over the coming months, features a unique model for affordable living.

According to a plan posted online, BoKlok plans to build around 160 houses on the land leased from the local council, and 30% of these units will be reserved for public housing. It is projected that the first homes could be occupied within two years.

The remaining 70% would be allocated to BoKlok’s “Left to Live” payment model, where residents would only pay what they can afford after deducting taxes and living costs. The model assumes that people can use about a third of their monthly earnings for a mortgage.

In a statement, councilors noted that this project would let Worthing swiftly build homes that meet quality standards.

Ikea to build homes that are affordable.
BoKlok UK

BoKlok’s modular housing is made of fitted sections that can be built offsite. This will be particularly helpful for Worthing considering that they have limited land. As opposed to the traditional development approach, this kind of housing will allow three times as many homes to be built in the area.

If the plan pushes through, site work will start in September 2020. The first set of homes would be assembled and delivered in January 2021, and residents can move in by April of the same year.

BoKlok’s approach to cheap yet sustainable housing is drawn heavily on Ikea’s methods.

“BoKlok was designed the IKEA way: large volumes, low prices. Industrialized production and large volumes — in other words, repetition — cut prices and save time in planning,” according to a Skanska blog post from 2011.

The fact that the entire supply chain, land acquisition, factory production, site work, and sales and marketing is controlled by the venture helps lower costs. Moreover, BoKlok uses wood as the material for the construction of homes. The company also doesn’t buy land unless it’s sure that it can be developed shortly.

This project definitely looks promising and will be especially helpful to those who can’t afford to build homes the traditional way.