5 Cheapest Ways To Build A House In South Africa (2023)

It is the dream of many to have their own house. However, many are yet to actualize this dream because it takes a lot to build a classy home here. The truth is, there are different factors that determines the cost of building a property in the country, such as size, design, materials to be used, etc.

However, it would help to know the cheapest ways to build a house in South Africa to make things easier. Some of them include building a modest house, choosing simple designs, embracing storey houses amongst others.

5 Cheapest Ways To Build A House In South Africa

1. Build A Modest House

One of the most affordable ways to build a house in South Africa is to build modestly. Doing this involves several considerations to ensure a successful and comfortable project. Begin with obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to local building codes, and then choose a suitable location that is in line with your needs and preferences.

While you want to build a cheap house, you should give priority to comfort too. The design of the house should take into account the climate of where you are, and you should give attention to proper insulation and ventilation. Also, remember that orientation is important to manage temperature fluctuations and optimize energy efficiency. Finally, if you don’t mind a small and modest space, then you discover you can actually build cheaply irrespective of where you are in the country.

2. Choose Simple Designs

If you want to build a house on a tight budget in South Africa, then you may have to opt for simpler designs. The fact remains that grand designs are expensive to design and implement. So, when considering building a house in South Africa, opting for simple designs can offer several advantages.

Simple designs often involve straightforward layouts and minimalistic aesthetics, which can help reduce construction costs and maintenance efforts. Remember that the fluctuating energy costs make energy-efficient features a priority and uncomplicated designs can incorporate effective insulation, passive solar heating, and natural ventilation.

Additionally, simple designs can expedite the approval process, as they typically align with local building codes and regulations. They also offer flexibility for future renovations or expansions. So, if you are ready to do away from complicated designs, then you can run off on this path.

3. Embrace Storey houses

You can also go with storey houses since they are cheaper. This comes with more inexpensive roofing and folks can get to save resources, as they won’t bother with unnecessary external finishes that may hijack the costs. Here, single-storey houses generally tend to be more affordable compared to multi-storey homes.

This can be attributed to various factors, such as construction costs, land availability, and local housing market trends. Single-storey houses often require less complex foundations, structural elements, and materials, which can contribute to lower construction expenses.

4. Buy A Readily Surveyed Land

The costs of bush clearing, surveying, fencing, excavations, etc can add up significantly. However, you can save money by purchasing plots that are already prepared for construction, as the seller would have already taken care of surveying and other related tasks so you won’t have to input a lot of resources on such.

So, consider purchasing surveyed land to streamline your construction process. With the survey already done, you gain clarity on boundaries and property lines, preventing future disputes. As a matter of fact, this also often includes the advantage of existing infrastructure like fencing and drainage systems, which will in turn reduce additional costs. By opting for a readily surveyed land, you expedite your building plans, ensure accuracy, and enjoy a smoother construction journey.

5. Build With Affordable Building Materials

One of the most realistic cheapest ways to build a house in South Africa is to build with cheap building materials. Thankfully, there are several options available for you, and you will discover that you can still utilize any of these alternative building materials to erect something classy.

Affordable Building Materials used to build a Cheap House in South Africa

Some of the cheap building materials that can be used to build a cheap house in South Africa include:

1. Old Shipping Containers

Repurposing old shipping containers as building materials has gained popularity here due to its cost-effectiveness and eco-friendliness. These containers can be transformed into functional living spaces and even offices, offering an innovative solution to housing and infrastructure challenges.

Their modular nature allows for customization and quick construction. However, factors such as insulation, ventilation, and regulatory approvals need careful consideration. While this approach can be affordable and sustainable, it is important to work with experienced professionals to ensure structural integrity.

2. Bamboo

Constructing houses with bamboo is another way to build cheaply in South Africa, and as expected, it is gaining traction due to its sustainability and versatility. Remember that bamboo is a renewable resource that grows quickly, making it an eco-friendly choice for construction.

Interestingly, its strength-to-weight ratio and flexibility make it suitable for various structural applications. However, successful implementation requires proper treatment to enhance durability against pests and weather. Bamboo’s aesthetics also lend a unique touch to buildings. But to ensure safety as well as the building of a tough structure, you can collaborate with experts familiar with bamboo construction techniques.

While it is a great way to build, the fact remains that careful planning and expertise are key to harnessing its potential effectively.

3. Prefabricated Materials

Prefabricated materials are gaining prominence in different parts of the country due to their efficiency and speed. These pre-made components are manufactured off-site, minimizing on-site work and reducing construction time. This approach also offers improved quality control and reduced waste, hence, cheap.

Nevertheless, you should also give thought to certain factors like transportation costs and design limitations. Hence, working with skilled professionals who understand prefab construction is essential to ensure proper assembly and structural integrity. Generally, prefab materials can accelerate the building process and help cut costs.

4. Concrete Slabs

Utilizing concrete slabs for house construction is another cheap way to build a house in South Africa due to its durability and versatility. Concrete slabs provide a solid foundation and structural support, making them suitable for various architectural designs.

One of the nicest things about this is now they also offer excellent thermal properties and can be enhanced with insulation. However, proper engineering is crucial to ensure load-bearing capacity and prevent cracking over time. Therefore, it is very necessary to work with skilled contractors who understand local soil conditions and construction techniques.

5. Corrugated Metal

Constructing houses with corrugated metal is a practical choice due to its affordability and durability. It is another cheap method of building here without breaking the bank. Remember, corrugated metal sheets provide weather resistance and are resistant to pests, making them suitable for various climates.

They are often used for roofing and siding, offering a cost-effective solution for housing. Nevertheless, proper insulation is crucial to regulate indoor temperatures and is thus necessary to work with professionals who understand metal construction techniques.

6. Thatch Roof

Thatch roofs have a rich history in South African architecture, offering a unique and natural aesthetic. Also, building houses with thatch roofs reflects a blend of tradition and eco-friendliness. Although many folks are not interested in going this path for obvious reasons (urbanization and civilization), you can still go through this route if you want.

Thatch is a renewable material that provides excellent insulation, keeping homes cool in summer and warm in winter. However, maintenance is vital to prevent fire risk and deterioration from weather conditions. Proper installation techniques and regular upkeep by skilled thatchers are essential.

While thatch roofs are culturally significant and visually striking, you should give serious attention to factors such as local regulations, fire safety, and the need for periodic rethatching. Building with a thatch roof in South Africa embraces a timeless style and is also cheap.

7. Traditional Red Brick

Building houses with traditional red bricks is another option you can embrace, and it is listed here due to its durability, affordability, and familiarity. Red bricks offer a classic and timeless appearance, blending well with various architectural styles. They also provide excellent thermal insulation, helping to regulate indoor temperatures.

It should also be noted that their availability and ease of use contribute to their popularity in South Africa. The use of red bricks also has cultural significance and a sense of heritage, reflecting the country’s history. While red bricks are versatile and sturdy, they can be susceptible to moisture and may require proper waterproofing in certain regions.

So, careful consideration of design and insulation is necessary to optimize energy efficiency. Working with skilled masons and architects ensures proper installation and adherence to building codes. As technology advances, red brick construction techniques are evolving to enhance their performance and sustainability.



As we have highlighted above, it is very possible to build your dream house without breaking your bank account. Just pay attention to and implement the cheapest ways to build a house in South Africa and you won’t pass through avoidable stress.

There is no shortage of affordable building materials to choose from, but it all depends on your exposure to information, and your willingness to try new ideas. Many of these building ideas come from the need to get rid of industrial materials that are no longer needed. Hence, they are cheap and readily available. However, a major factor to consider is the availability of man-power to actually help you do the building work- if the workers do not do a great job, the results could be disappointing.

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