What are the pros, cons and price of a prefabricated home?

Fast, organised and often with eco-friendly options available, it’s easy to see why prefab homes are a popular choice. We round up the pros and cons you should consider


What are the pros, cons and price of a prefabricated home?

A prefabricated home is made in a factory and delivered to your site in one or more pieces. These are not the prefabs of old – there are now multiple options and beautiful, eco-friendly designs.

Genius Homes in Timaru can produce and deliver a new home in just 18 weeks. You can choose from base models or get a custom design. “Clients are saying they have a better living atmosphere in a smaller home,” says Jeremy Richards, the company’s sales manager.


  • Fast turnaround
  • Hassle-free – design, consent and build is all completed for you, including finishes
  • Efficient use of materials
  • Minimal site disruption.


  • May be too small for some people, particularly families
  • Lack of storage and multiple rooms
  • Hard to have alone-time indoors
  • You may want something more permanently fixed to a site.


  • You may need to get two building consents as the house will be built in one location then installed in another. A company like Genius Homes will organise this process for you.
  • Make sure you get a complete price, or be aware of costs that are excluded, says Jeremy. Don’t commit to a partial quote or a price per square metre without seeing the final total.


A one- or two-bedroom home from Genius Homes will cost $80K-$170K. Currently they can deliver around the South Island but are aiming to have a North Island factory soon.


What’s the difference?

Prefabricated is not to be confused with kitset or modular homes – which are also good options when building small. A kitset build involves just materials and plans being delivered to a site to be constructed, while a modular build usually refers to standard-sized components being built in a factory, with the house then completed on site. Check out and for modular examples, and and to see kitset homes.

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