Category: Blog

Custom-build mortgages

Anyone can have a custom-build home: from first-time buyers to families and downsizers, there are options for every need and custom-build mortgages are readily available to finance the build.

While those who are downsizing may be able to finance their new home from the sale of their existing property or savings, many people need to arrange a mortgage.

However, when you are ordering a custom-build home (or self building) obtaining finance is not the same as getting a mortgage for an already completed home. Instead, you will need to arrange a specialist custom-build mortgage, which releases funds at specific stages of the build.

At Hugr, we work with trusted self-build mortgage lender Mayflower Mortgage And Finance, which is a specialist in the sector and, like us, is a member of the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA).

Custom-build mortgages are a complex area of finance. Being accepted for a self-build mortgage is, in fact, quite subjective and the offer will depend not just on the applicant, but the overall build project itself.

Custom-builders can usually borrow up to 75% of the cost of the land and 60% of the cost of the actual building. Typically, a 20-25% deposit is required against the whole scheme, although it can be possible to borrow up to 95%, depending on individual circumstances.

In 2021, the government also strengthened its support for custom and self-build homes by introducing the Help to Build Equity Loan scheme.

This enables buyers of custom or self-build homes to arrange an equity loan of between 5% and 20% (although up to 40% is available for London) of the estimated costs to buy the land, if that is required, and the cost of the build.

To apply for an equity loan, buyers need:

● deposit of at least 5% of the estimated land and build costs
● 95% self build mortgage from a lender registered with Help to Build based on the estimated costs.

Eligible borrowers can spend up to £600,000 on their new home, which includes land and build costs, with a maximum £400,000 for the build. This cost must exclude VAT and any contingency fund you may have.

This equity loan is interest free for the first five years, and a management fee of £1 per month is payable. From year six, interest and the management fee is payable.

Custom-build mortgages can seem a little daunting, which is why we happy to refer plot-buyers to Mayflower: it has exceptional experience and knowledge, which means it is always able to provide the very best advice and find the best and most competitive lenders.

Its website also has a handy toolbox to help plot buyers understand how the financing works and how they can access the mortgage they need to complete the building project.

You can get in touch with Mayflower directly, but if you are already talking to us about one of our development sites, we will be more than happy to introduce you.

We and our plot buyers have had excellent service from Mayflower. Most recently, we worked with it at Wellbank, in the Lake District National Park, which is one of our larger developments.

Together, we put together a panel of lenders that have already examined the development and in principle have approved lending on the site. This enables buyers there to speed up their mortgage application process.

Wellbank is also eligible for the Help to Build Equity Loan scheme.

If you are interested in finding out more about a custom-build Hugr Home, contact our friendly team today, email: or telephone: 07540 754153.

Help to Build launches

Potential homebuyers who are priced out of the local housing market in England now have a new option to consider, after the government launched the Help to Build equity loan scheme.

Backed by £150 million of funding, the Homes England scheme will enable people to build their own homes – via the custom build or self-build route – which can be considerably cheaper than buying an existing property or one off-plan from a developer.

It means even if buyers have only a small deposit, they can start to realise their dream of owning a property.

Home-builders need to be able to put down a deposit of at least 5% and then they can apply for an equity loan of between 5% and 20% (or up to 40% in London).

The remaining 95% must be funded with a self-build mortgage from a lender registered with Help to Build.

This compares to the usual self-build process that sees buyers having to put down a 25% deposit for land and build costs before they can even apply for a mortgage.

Anyone applying for a custom or self-build equity loan will be allowed to spend up to £600,000 on their new home, including any land purchase, if applicable. However, the maximum that can be spent on the building costs is £400,000 (excluding VAT).

This means, for example:

You buy the land for £150,000

Build costs are £250,000.

Total = £400,000

You secure an equity loan between 5% (£20,000) and 20% (£80,000).

The rest comes from a mortgage from a specialist lender registered with Help to Build.


No interest is paid on the equity loan for the first five years, but you are required to pay £1 a month management fee by direct debit. In year six, you pay 1.75% interest and this increases each April when you pay the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation from September of the previous year plus a further 2%.

Things to note

There are some important considerations to be made and a few restrictions with the scheme.

Anyone applying for the equity loan must use the house as their main property – this funding cannot be used for second homes.

Applicants for the Help to Build equity loan must be over 18 and must be eligible to live in England.

If you take out an equity loan, you must repay it in full, plus interest (after year six) and management fees, if you: come to the end of your equity loan term, which is usually 25 years; if you sell the property; you repay your repayment mortgage; or you do not keep to the conditions of your equity loan contract.

Custom build with Hugr Homes

The Help to Build equity scheme could deliver between 30,000 and 40,000 homes a year.

As a specialist in small, high-quality custom builds, we help people achieve their dream home through our affordable, low energy and carbon neutral housing that’s designed around the needs of people and the community. You can find out more about us here.

We pride ourselves on innovation and doing things differently. We constantly seek out new methods or technology that will deliver a better standard home at a lower cost.

We want people to live in individual homes that exude character and are built to suit their lifestyles – the opposite of the copycat properties that new house builders produce up and down the country.

Our approach considers the sites on which we buy land, the history of the areas and which designs and materials will work best. It is what we have done for  many years and our happy home owners demonstrate our success.

We work with you: we can deliver a ‘full turnkey’ package, delivering the entire project to your specification or you can choose a ‘wind and watertight’ option that delivers the facade, roof, doors and windows and leaves you to complete the interior in your own time.

Find out more about our current custom build developments.

Find out more about the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

If you want to find out how you can use your Help to Build equity loan with Hugr Homes, contact the team today by emailing or telephoning 07540 754153.

Bacon Review supports custom build

The publication of The Bacon Review, by Richard Bacon MP in 2021, has now resulted in a commitment by the government to establish a Custom and Self Build Housing Delivery unit within Homes England, which could pave the way to more people building their own homes.

This will enable the creation of serviced plots on small and large sites, plus support the delivery of custom and self build at scale across the country.

The government has also launched the Help to Build equity loan scheme, backed by £150 million funding, that will help buyers with 5% buyer deposits towards land and building costs.

The Bacon Review was commissioned by the Prime Minister, who asked him to undertake an independent review into scaling up self-build and custom housebuilding.

Richard Bacon made six recommendations:

  • A greater role for Homes England with the creation of a new Custom and Self-Build Housing Delivery Unit within Homes England.
  • Raise awareness of the right to build, with the Government, working through Homes England with the custom and self-build industry, create a custom and self-build housing show park, strengthen existing legislation to mandate the wider publicity of self-build and custom housebuilding registers.
  • Support community-led housing, diversity of supply and levelling up by reigniting the Community Housing Fund; creating accessible opportunities for communities to help themselves by introducing a Self-Help Housing Programme; and introducing a Plot to Rent Scheme.
  • Promote greener homes and more use of advanced manufacturing by supporting the pathfinding role of the custom and self-build housing sector in advanced manufacturing and in greener homes.
  • Support custom- and self-building through the planning reforms by maximising the opportunities for access to permissioned land for custom and self-build across all tenures. This would include changing right to build legislation.
  • Iron out any tax creases so any perceived disadvantages in the tax system between the custom and self-build delivery model and other forms of housing are ironed out.

The government’s response has now been published, with Housing Minister Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP saying the “government strongly believes that self and custom build housing can play a crucial role – as part of a wider package of measures – in securing greater diversity in the housing market, increasing overall supply and helping to deliver the homes people want.”

It agreed to some of the recommendations. “In some cases, where we are not able to commit to recommendations today, the Government has committed to do additional work to investigate their viability for future years, as we continue to deliver on our manifesto commitment to support self and custom build housing,” added the Housing Minister.

What this means for Hugr Homes

We have long focused on delivering sites with plots that are ready for homeowners who want to custom build their own home.

Our research has shown there is growing demand for plots, demonstrated by the numbers of enquiries we receive about available land.

The Bacon Review and the launch of Help to Build equity loan scheme are welcome boosts to the market and will help to us to serve an even wider range of buyers.

We remain engaged with our customers so we can focus on their requirements and help them to build the house they want. We hope the launch of the specialist delivery unit within Homes England will allow enablers and developers like us to scale up our model and deliver more land for potential homes.

If you want to find out how you could enjoy living in your own custom built home, contact the Hugr Homes team today by emailing or telephoning 07540 754153.

Timber frame benefits

When it comes to choosing the right structural system and materials for your new-build home, it is important not to get hung up on whether one system is better than another.

Instead, focus on which system best suits your needs and what you require from your build. Looking at the benefits of different build systems is the best way to identify what stacks up best for you.

Timber frames have multiple benefits and here we outline the primary reasons why they are increasingly the building method of choice for self-builders.


If you need to get to the wind and watertight stage quickly, choose a timber frame. The typical self-build home takes about 8-12 months – from first footing to moving in, but excluding the time it takes to identify land and obtain the necessary planning and building regulations approvals.

The first three to five months of the building stage are on the weatherproof stage, so if you have a pressing moving-in deadline, or if you are building during the colder, winter months when bad weather could pose a risk to your build schedule, a timber frame delivers faster results.

While groundwork contractors are onsite laying the foundations, your timber frame kit will be manufactured in the factory. This requires careful planning, but if you have a well-orchestrated project schedule, your frame kit can be delivered to site ‘just in time’ after groundworks are completed.

Timber frames are the best choice if speed is a defining factor of the build process. From delivery on site, the average four-bedroom family home takes between two and three weeks to reach the wind and water-tight stage.

This short and defined build time gives you control over your build schedule and minimises the risk of slippages that can delay your project and add unnecessary costs. Speed of erection also reduces the amount of noise, dust, and waste – ideal if you are in a residential area or have a tricky relationship with your neighbours because it minimises disruption.


Off-site manufacture of timber frames means high quality is assured: pre-fabrication within a factory environment allows for controlled, precision engineering, minimising the risk of defects and snagging. If your chosen supplier operates to a quality assurance system, there is additional peace of mind about the frame being subject to rigorous independent audits.

Thermal Efficiency

As energy costs skyrocket, achieving a thermally efficient home is more important than ever. A timber frame can enable very high levels of thermal insulation because the dwelling’s core insulation layer is housed within the structure. On top of this, multiple layers of insulation can be added to the structural fabric of the house to increase its thermal performance.

Most timber frame companies offer a range of U values (the measure of how effective a material is as an insulator – the lower the U value the more thermally efficient it is), depending on whether you want to meet building regulations or want to achieve a highly thermally efficient home.

Good timber frame companies can create a panel detail to meet your own or your architect’s U value requirements if you have a special detail in mind.


There are almost limitless possibilities when it comes to designing a timber frame home. Wood is a highly versatile building material: it’s light with a high strength-to-weight ratio and can be engineered, lending itself to innovative design possibilities and beautiful architecture.

Using a timber frame injects additional ease to the self-build process. Timber frame package providers, such as Fleming Homes, offer a range of additional services including design, planning and building regulations expertise, comprehensive material supply options so you benefit from its buying power, and erection to the wind and watertight stage, all of which help to make the process easier.


Timber has superior environmental credentials. It is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource with low embodied carbon. Compared to the manufacture of steel and concrete, with their enormous environmental cost, the lowest CO2 of any building material is a timber frame.

The Forestry Commission reports that dwellings built in timber frame can lead to a saving of up to 86% of green-house gas emissions compared to masonry construction.

It is worth noting that the building industry contributes 32% of all waste nationally (BRE 2006), but off-site manufacture of timber frame within a factory environment can reduce the amount of waste generated on site by up to 40%. Most timber frame waste generated can also be recovered or recycled.

A timber frame can also positively impact health and safety on your site. Working from height is the most frequent cause of fatal accidents in the workplace and just over a quarter of these deaths occur in the construction industry.

A prefabricated timber frame reduces work at height by up to 80%, which in turn reduces the risk of injury on your site. Reduced manual handling of materials on site, and other reductions, such as less potential for slips and trips, also mean a 25% improvement in site safety.

Overall Value

When looking at overall value, it’s important to look at the process in the round: what good is speed of erection if you end up with endless snagging and defects? Using a timber frame combines myriad benefits, resulting in exceptional value for the self-builder.

For more information, contact the Hugr Homes team today by emailing or telephoning 07540 754153.

Discover custom build

As more of our projects come to fruition, we thought it would be a good time to explain why we created Hugr Homes, what our aims and goals are – and why we believe that custom build homes should be a mainstream part of the UK’s housing market.


Hugr Homes was formed to work with landowners, local authorities, housing associations, strategic land developers and individuals to facilitate and enable the development of custom build homes.

Created by Joe Higginson, a chartered surveyor with 30 years’ experience in the UK property market, he now leads a team of architects, planning consultants, site managers and environmental consultants, all of whom share Joe’s passion for custom build housing.

We work with companies and consultants who bring ideas, products and services that are not only innovative but also promote our goals in helping more buyers discover the advantages of custom build.


We want more people and communities to realise the feeling of wellness and contentment from their homes and their surrounding area.

As anyone who has gone through the house buying process will tell you: it’s hard to find everything you want on your wish list.

We believe home buyers know better than anyone what they want, but the majority of new homes are being built by the mass market housebuilders – and there is very little choice when it comes to what you can buy and how it will be specified.

But, there is another way.

We want homes to be designed by the people who will live in them because these will better suit their needs – and by custom building, you get the style and specification of the home you want at the price that you want to pay.

Most people accept there is a need for new housing across the country, but many oppose the building of typical sprawling estates of identical housing that look the same whether you are in Coventry, Cambridge or Carlisle.

These identikit boxes cover the landscape, with no thought to the local area and the style of property that will suit that location.

This is where custom building is different: it works within the framework of a design code and sets parameters for the materials to be used, but then enables the homeowner to put their own stamp on the exterior design.

This results in a more interesting design that is more in keeping with the surrounding area.

The UK lags behind other countries in this respect.

Here, fewer than 10% of all new homes are self or custom built, whereas in Germany, Italy and Belgium, it is more than 50%.

On a global basis, an average 40% of homes are self commissioned in developed countries.

While we know we can’t change the UK figures substantially on our own, we know we can make a difference.


So what does all this mean in practice?

We know the hardest part of building your own home is finding the plot of land.

This is where we come in as we provide you with the available plots on our sites where you can custom build your home.

Much of the initial work will have been done as our sites already have roads and infrastructure installed and they have planning permission in place, plus there is a design guide that clearly shows what can be built there.

We also recognise that while you want to build your own home, you probably aren’t a designer or an architect. That’s OK – because we can help as much or as little as you need.

There is usually a range of house types and styles you can consider as a starting point and then you can work with us to change and adapt those layouts and styles to suit your preferences.

Once the layouts are agreed, we move on to the specification. This is where home buyers recognise the distinct advantages of custom build because we can make them more economical and energy efficient.

If energy-efficient equipment and systems are catered for at the start of the design process, they become more cost-effective as incorporating solar technology, battery backup, heat pumps to extract and transfer heat from the air or the ground can be done from day one.

If you need a mortgage to finance the building of your home, we can help with that, too, as we work with specialist mortgage providers and insurance warranty providers who understand the custom build market.

Want to learn more?

Are you interested in finding out more about how you can realise your custom build dream home? Whether you need you hand held throughout the process, or you want to take a more independent approach to creating your dream home, we are here to advise.

Contact the Hugr Homes team today by emailing or telephoning 07540 754153.