Owner-builder says that anyone else could do the same

Sustainable yet affordable too – surely the holy grail of housing? A newly built Scottish home could provide one way to capture that elusive dream.

Featuring straw walls and a turf roof, it was built for around £4,000. Many of the materials were sourced from nearby fields, with reclaimed materials obtained for free also playing a part.

The resulting sustainable home collects water from rainfall for the inhabitants’ use and takes electricity from a car battery. A water wheel is under construction to provide further power to the Galloway property later this year.

The low labour costs could prove impractical to replicate, though - 52-year-old software engineer Steve James built his home with his own hands.

However, he told the BBC that “anybody could easily learn to do” the same with a little guidance, and believes that a three-bedroom home could be built for under £10,000.

Pointing out that land makes up the bulk of the price of a home and compound interest on a mortgage adds further to the cost paid by UK consumers, he calculates that actual construction costs could be “as little as 2%”.

James took four years to complete the house from start to finish, although actual building time amounted to just 10 months.