The ODPM is set to launch an architectural competition for affordable homes in the new year, the AJ has learned.
The 'Build a Home for £60,000' competition will demand that submissions illustrate how affordable homes can be provided in the Thames Gateway by keeping house-building costs down.
When it is launched, architects and developers will both be encouraged to enter. It is understood that house-building giant Barratt Homes has already expressed an interest in putting together a consortium.
It is also understood that the government is keen to see submissions that use off-site prefabricated construction.
'Site-based building is inefficient and reduces costs by reducing design, ' planning minister Keith Hill said at a Prince's Foundation conference last week.
'A manufactured approach will allow greater flexibility, allowing 80 per cent standard design and 20 per cent customised, ' he added.