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Flat-pack homes from Ikea

May 18 2009
An artist's impression of Boklok houses An artist's impression of Boklok houses
The Scandinavian furniture giant hopes to help first-time buyers onto the housing ladder Those who feel that the housing market has trapped them where they are might look to Ikea in the future. The Scandinavian furniture giant is hoping to help first-time buyers onto the housing ladder with a range of low-cost houses and flats. The Boklok flats, which are on sale in Gateshead, Tyneside, are timber-framed and cost less than £125,000. The 81 two- and three-bed homes are going for less than £150,000. The homes are targeted at people who earn £15k-£35k and are struggling to buy their first property. Councillor David Napier, who is responsible for housing at Gateshead Council, said: "Providing affordable homes is the Holy Grail for local councils and housing providers - but it is still one of the most difficult to achieve. Boklok offers new solutions to the problem because it concentrates much of the actual building work off-site, and that substantially reduces the cost." However, though the Swedish retailer claims that these homes are the solution to the ever-increasing house prices, they are not without their problems. For example, the prospect of high demand for Boklok homes means potential buyers might have to be chosen though a lottery system. As well as this, owners would not be permitted to rent out the homes, and resale could be difficult, with Bokloks potentially being sold back to the supplier. The houses have been successful in other countries. Ikea and Skanska, Boklok's construction firm, hosted the first batch of affordable flats and houses in Sweden during the mid 1990s. Their eco-friendly materials, plus the solar panels and geothermic equipment incorporated into their construction and their design, were very successful. Since then, more than 1,000 flat-packs have popped up in Sweden every year. Live Smart @ Home, which builds and sells Boklok homes on behalf of Ikea, plans to implement the concept nationally during the next two years and produce an estimated 500 homes a year by 2009. Neil Shaefer, a spokesman for Ikea, said: "Our developers are in talks right now and we are looking at sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh and also in London."