The first set of ‘flat-pack’ homes from Swedish furniture giants Ikea has gone on sale in Gateshead in the North East.
Around 60 of the homes, which are targeted at first-time buyers, will be installed on a site in Gateshead, with plans in place for additional sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.
The flats and houses, known as BoKlok, are said to be constructed with renewable materials, with solar panels and other eco-friendly features integrated. All homes will be facing south so as to catch as much sunlight as possible.
Commenting, Alison Rolls, spokeswoman for Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, welcomed the initiative, and said the housing market needs to take a more creative and innovative approach to the problems facing first-time buyers.
She continued: “As a lender, we will look at unusual constructions, especially if they are environmentally friendly. It is though in both our and their best interests to make sure the buyer is buying something that has a resale value. This will not be the solution for everybody – just as other initiatives like the Government’s key workers scheme are not – but it will work for some people.”
Priced between £100,000 and £150,000, interested parties will have to hold interviews with Ikea before being allocated one of the properties. Buyers earning between £15,000 and £35,000 will be prioritised and will be assessed on a set of criteria, along with home ownership tenure options.
Anthony Badaloo, manager at IFA Church Hill Finance, said it was a positive move, and added the shortage of affordable housing on the market meant it would be popular.
He added: “Anything to help the affordable housing shortage is a big plus – the fact that Ikea is a major player in all it does means it should bring a certain professionalism to this venture.”
Badaloo said initiatives like the Ikea flat-pack homes could also assist key workers onto the housing ladder. “At the moment a lot of people, including professional workers like police officers and nurses, are renting what can only be described as substandard accommodation, simply because they cannot afford a place of their own,” he said.