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What is the Cheapest Way to Build a House in 2023 in Australia?


When building a house in Australia, one of the main questions prospective homeowners will ask is: how much will it cost? People are always looking for ways to save money and sometimes want the cheapest way to build a house, so long as it puts a roof over their head. While for some, this may seem like a classic case of ‘you get what you pay for’, finding affordable ways to build a house is nothing to be ashamed of and is a necessity given the housing shortage facing the country.

The most cost-effective way to build a house doesn’t necessarily mean skimping on certain items or the quality of certain parts of your cheap house-build idea. It may just mean adjusting your budget and compromising on certain other home items.

But, for those wondering how they could ever afford to build a home on a modest budget, this article is for you! If you need a simple and cheap house, this article is for you!

Regardless of the cheapness of your build, you’ll still want to create the same building checklist and ensure that you avoid these catastrophic mistakes despite needing to save money. There are also sustainability considerations to make when choosing the cheapest construction method. If you decide to include more sustainable elements in your design that may cost more upfront, they will likely pay for themselves and increase the value of your home as the years go by.

The Current State of Home Build Pricing in Australia

Before you figure out the most cost-effective way to build a house, you need to understand the current home-building market in Australia in 2023. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the cost to build a typical home in Australia was $449,436 in February of 2023, up almost $60,000 from February of the previous year.

 Because many variables factor into the cost of building a new home, there are many affordable ways to build a house and save money while doing it. Here are some tips to help you save money while still building a home to be proud of.

Cheapest Ways to Build a House in Australia

So, what is the cheapest way to build a home? Let’s take a look!

Pick a Different Location
 Certain parts of the country are more expensive than others to live in. Property prices reflect this, as does the cost of building a new home. While you may desire a property in the city, living with the hustle and bustle of Sydney, immersed in the beauty and vibrancy of the metropolis with all of the amenities and things to do that you could want, it isn’t always financially feasible to build in the CBD of a city.

For example, in 2022, the average cost to build a typical home in the Sydney CBD was $322,400, with land costing $1285 per square metre. In Australia, the typical home occupies 285 square metres.

For this reason, while living in a big city like Sydney may be desirable, the cost is simply exorbitant. You may need to move farther afield from your nearest central business district to see a significant reduction in land costs, even if the overall build price doesn’t change that much.

Consider the Terrain   

Regarding the most affordable way to build a house, you need to choose land wisely. And that includes the terrain you’re building on. Houses built on steep inclines will be more expensive than houses built on flat land. Building on an already level piece of land is the cheapest way to build a house. If you want to save money, choose land that is already relatively level rather than building on a hillside.

Additionally, putting in a basement will also increase the price of your build, as the basement will need to be dug out. So, if you want to save money and don’t need a basement, not putting one in will save you even more money.

Labour Costs

One of the most expensive parts of building a home is the labour required by your chosen contractor and their team. Consider the current trade shortage in Australia at the moment. Demand is high, while supply is low, so you may wait some time for your desired contractor to begin the building process.

You can also save money by taking on some of the work yourself or employing the help of friends and family with certain tasks. However, you should always seek professional support for structural work, water hookups, electricity and concrete work. But relatively simple tasks like painting, drywalling, tiling and other smaller-scale construction work can be done by you to save some money on labour costs.

Materials & Design

Another big cost when building a home is materials and design. Typically, when building a new home, you’ll have to work with an architect and builder to develop your desired design. Are you building a split-level duplex or a single-level home with accessibility in mind? Are you building a big rectangle, or will it be a funkily-shaped home? In any case, the design criteria you provide for your builder and architect will drastically affect the home’s cost.

Another consideration when trying to find the least expensive home-building method is the materials you’ll use to frame the exterior walls and/or build the walls. For example, the average cost of building a home with weatherboard in 2023 is $1,300 per square metre. While weatherboard may be cheap, it isn’t as durable as brick or timber framing. Single-level brick homes are roughly $1,900 per square metre.

But not just the outside of your dwelling will cost more for certain materials. For example, putting in gorgeous hardwood flooring may be desirable, but even the cheapest hardwood floors, Blackbutt (eucalyptus pitularis), will still cost $60 per square metre. Meanwhile, laminate flooring is among the cheapest options at $20 to $50 per square metre and has significantly improved in quality in recent years so that it won’t break with a hard stare.

The same applies to materials like marble or granite for countertops rather than cheaper alternatives like laminate or quartz. Using ceramic or porcelain tiles over natural stone or marble tiling in the bathroom will save you money.

Giving Second-Hand Furnishings New Life

One of the best ways to save money when it comes to the interior of your home is to buy used furniture or used construction materials (like used flooring, provided it is in good condition) to put to new use in your home. Sometimes, all certain things need is a fresh coat of paint or a lather of varnish to look new again!

An old wooden table bought cheaply off Facebook Marketplace can be revitalised with sanding and stain. People are always selling off their old or disused appliances and home furnishings. Watch for what you need in online marketplaces to snag some great deals.

Common Types of Cheap Houses

If you’re still uncertain about how to build a simple and cheap house, here are some ideas of the most common types of cheaper homes in Australia.

Modular/Flat-Pack Homes

Spurred on by the popularity of the tiny house movement, modular homes have become a hugely cost-effective way to build a cheap house. Modular homes are typically made of wood, concrete and steel and although they are somewhat customisable and are full of options, they don’t provide the most extensive customisability, as you would get with a more traditional build. They are often put together in several weeks. They are factory-built indoors, with all inspections in situ before being transported to their desired location on flatbed trucks.

The cost of a modular home depends on the square meterage of the property, although a small (85 sqm) 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom modular home costs roughly $114,000, not including the land upon which it will sit. Modular homes make fantastic tiny or starter homes for individuals just starting their homeowner journey.

Shipping Container Homes  

If you still want to go pre-fab and flat-pack, then another great way to break the traditional mould is with a shipping container home. These use repurposed steel shipping containers, so their overall build cost is incredibly cheap at roughly $110,000! You could buy and connect two or more shipping containers to create more space for a similar cost of building a traditional sticks-and-bricks house.

When it comes to building cheaply, thinking outside the box is always the way to go. A cheap house idea requires ingenuity and creativity in your design. You don’t have to go with the cheapest type of or the cheapest home materials in all aspects to create a beautiful home. You can also save money long-term by building sustainable technology into the building, like solar panels, in-floor heating or water-conserving toilets or showers.


The bottom line is that many inexpensive ways to build a home exist. You just need a little help to get there. Contact us at Provincial Homes to see how we can help you create the home of your dreams, even on a modest budget!

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