It is almost impossible to find cheap land for sale on the open market and your desire to find a bargain could end up leaving you out of pocket.
Having said that, it is possible to find reasonably priced plots but it involves more leg work and more importantly a considerable helping of good luck.
Land prices are dependant on the classification of the land (i.e. what it can be used for), location (nationally and locally), size and potential.
If you are self building then unfortunately you are looking at the most expensive type: residential development or housing land.
Agricultural or grazing land is a fraction of the price of development land and it is sometimes advertised as though there is a chance of obtaining planning permission for development which would increase its value considerably. In most cases this is misleading and the land being sold has no chance of gaining planning. In reality you could end up paying over the odds for a piece of land with no chance of ever getting permission.
There are plenty of unscrupulous land bank companies out there exploiting peoples' naivety, dividing up huge parcels of land with little chance of ever gaining planning permission and selling it on as over-priced 'building plots' for vast profits.
If you are looking at a plot and are unsure of its planning potential, your first port of call is the local Planning Department.
Have a look at the Local Authority's land use development plan maps online which will indicate the classification of the plot. Have a look on the planning portal or your local council planning website for Unitary Development Plans (UDP) and speak to planners about the chances of getting planning permission.
Some would argue that following the bursting of the property bubble and the deflation of property and land prices over the last few years that all land is cheap, at least cheaper than it was.
Of course this is all relative and unless you sold your property at the peak and have been waiting for a correction in prices, you won't be better off.
Finding a cheap plot is possible but as discussed earlier, it requires more legwork and a lot of luck.
Your best bet is avoiding the open market. If it is out there then it will most likely be priced accordingly and if it's any good, it will be attracting enough attention to achieve its price.
The same is true at auction. There is always the chance of a bargain but the competition could scupper your plans. You've got to be in it to win it though!
To secure a cheap plot, private sale is the best option and the vendor needs to be desperate enough for a quick sale or like you enough to take that little bit less for their plot. There is the additional advantage for them of saving on agent's fees.
So; word of mouth, door knocking and networking is the order of the day, again an advert in a local paper may turn something up.
If you do manage to find some cheap land for sale, make sure you do your research before committing to anything. If it hasn't got outline or full planning tread very carefully. If you can't build you could end up with a very expensive piece of earth!
For information about thousands of building plots in the UK with outline or full planning permission in place already, you could join a resource like Buildstore's Plotsearch
Return to our Buying Land page for more on where to look for land and what to research before you buy.