Ikea moves in on UK housing
Ikea could be building homes in the UK after a council in the south of England agreed to work with a developer owned by the flat-pack retailer.
Worthing Council is considering a deal with BoKlok, owned by Ikea and construction company Skanska, to build up to 162 homes in the seaside town.
BoKlok's homes are factory-built and priced after calculating how much owners can afford after the cost of living is taken into account.
It says it is expanding in the UK.
It appears to be the first development by BoKlok in the UK after a scheme in Tyneside was launched in 2007 and appears to mark a new push into the UK.
BoKlok's website says: "We are expanding in the UK and are looking for land.
"Do you have a vacant plot that could accommodate a new sustainable neighbourhood?"
BoKlok also distances itself from the flat-packs associated with Ikea: "It is about a high-quality off-site manufacturing process that allows us to assemble them quickly in a safe and sustainable environment, which we know that both employees and customers appreciate.
The homes are believed to include an Ikea kitchen.
Under BoKlok's plan, Worthing would get 30% of the homes, which would be used for social housing in areas where the council says there is a shortage of homes and high house price inflation.
Worthing says the average local house price is 11 times the average salary, compared with eight times nationally.
The remaining 70% of the properties would go to BoKlok, which has already built 11,000 homes in Sweden, Finland and Norway.
BoKlok also plans "a much wider programme of development over the coming years", according to a report drawn up for Worthing Council.
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Council's executive member for regeneration, said: "In this current market, it's extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work to get on the housing market. This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town."
Instead of selling land to the developer, the council would receive the homes, lease the land for 125 years and receive ground rent, which should be about 4% on the value of the land.
The council says this proposal produces 45 homes for its use, rather than 13 if a conventional model has been used.
Building could start next September and the "first homes dispatched, delivered and erected" in January 2021.
A BoKlok spokesperson said it was a "sustainable, low-cost housing concept". It was "now exploring the UK market for potential sites for BoKlok developments, initially in the south and west of the country".
"However, we have nothing to confirm at this point in time," the spokesperson said.