The average cost to build a new home lands anywhere from $90 to $1,095 per square foot. We know — that's a big spread! Where you live can dramatically affect the price: high-cost-of-living areas will increase the amount you pay per square foot to build a new home. The next-biggest determining factor will be the fanciness of your bells and whistles. High-end furnishings require paying a high-end price, which may lead to a higher mortgage payment. Here's how the cost to build a new home breaks down.
Read the video transcript.
What's in this cost guide?
- How regional pricing affects your new home costs
- Choosing your finishes
- Modular home costs
- Average construction costs for a new home
- Modular home costs
- How much does a lot of land cost?
- What permits do you need to build a home?
- How can I save money?
If you're living in a low-cost-of-living region, you'll probably pay less in home construction costs. Remember, base per-square-foot price is determined in part by the hourly rates of your various contractors — from plumbers to drywall installers to carpenters and concrete pros. If you're building a new home in the suburbs of New York City, they'll charge more on average than for equivalent construction in rural Kansas.
Weather necessities and building code requirements may affect the price of your home, too. R.J. Nassar, the national director of Opus One Design Build in Miami, FL, explains that southern Florida's proclivity to hurricanes requires building homes from concrete block. In many other states, such as Texas or Georgia, you'll need just a concrete foundation. And local permit costs can affect the final price, too. The actual home is built with wooden frames — and, in turn, is much cheaper.
Here's how construction costs for a standard 3,000-square-foot home could break down in different states:
|Region||Cost per Square Foot to Build a Home||Total Estimated Cost||Details|
|Southern Florida||$108||$324,000||Constructing concrete block structures is finicky — so masons tend to charge more money.|
|Dallas||$93||$279,000||Wooden framing is easier to carry and install, so this home will cost less than an equivalent space in Florida.|
|Atlanta||$90||$270,000||This home is constructed much like the Dallas home, but regional contracting costs are lower.|
The level of finish you desire can dramatically affect the price you pay. Base-level finishings start at an average cost of $90 per square foot on top of other construction costs— but add wood floors, marble countertops, high-end appliances and fancy chandeliers and that cost may skyrocket. And if you're eager for a second floor, a two-story home may cost more than a one-story.
These are the standard levels of finishings you may encounter in discussions with your contractor.
This home is modest and cozy — but not luxurious. It often includes:
- Low- to mid-end countertops, like granite or quartz
- Carpeted bedrooms
- Standard bathroom fixtures
- Tiled entryways
- Hardwood in the main living areas
- Standard ceiling light fixtures
- Stucco or lap siding
- Basic roof materials
For this type of home, here's what you can expect to spend in construction costs spend in various parts of the country:
- Atlanta, Dallas and the Midwest: $175 per sq ft
- Southern Florida: $190 per sq ft
- California or New York: $243 to $253 per sq ft
- Northeast United States: $237 to $262 per sq ft
These homes are slightly nicer than standard homes, and — accordingly — cost a little more. Expect to spend about $100 to $120 more per square foot on construction. Outfitting a midrange home often includes:
- Higher-end, energy-efficient windows
- Recessed lighting
- High-quality hardwood flooring
- Upgraded bathroom fixtures and finishes
- Higher-end countertops and appliances
- Stone accents on the exterior.
Here's what you can expect to pay in construction costs for various parts of the country:
- Atlanta, Dallas and the Midwest: $275 to $295 per sq ft
- Southern Florida: $290 to $310 per sq ft
It should be no surprise that luxury homes come with a luxury price tag. Fancy finishes create a gorgeous, unique abode that feels fully you — but you'll pay ballpark expenses of $250 to $800 more per square foot for the pleasure of a serene, custom-built space. Here's what you might see in a high-end home:
- Automation, like blinds and speakers
- Heated driveways
- Heated flooring
- Marble or chiseled stone bathrooms
- Stone exterior
- Expensive glass
- Custom baseboards and molding
- Professional landscaping
- Slate roof shingles
Want your own luxurious escape? Here's an idea of the average cost.
- Atlanta, the Midwest and Dallas: $525 to $1,095 per sq ft
- Southern Florida: $540 to $1,110 per sq ft
Since new-construction homes are typically priced by square footage, a large home means a large price tag. Thumbtack Pro Maples Construction Co., located in Maryville, Tennessee, provided three sample home construction projects as a snapshot of the cost of home construction for projects with different square footage in the Knoxville, Tennessee, region. All of these costs include plumbing and electrical.
1,000-square-foot entry-level home: $149,000 sales price (two identical single-family houses were built on the same divided lot, costing a total of $298,000)
- Three bedrooms
- Three baths
- Two-car garage
- Entry-level linoleum floors and carpet throughout
- New stove, fridge, dishwasher and microwave
- Cabinets paint and all finish work
1,400-square-foot comfort home: $219,000 (built on spec)
- Three bedrooms
- Two baths
- Two-car oversized garage
- 12-foot ceilings
- High-end fixtures and all finish work
- All interior and exterior paint
- Small back patio and small front porch
1,700-square-foot green home: $240,000 (Energy Star spec home with upscale finishes)
- Four bedrooms (plus a bonus room over the garage)
- Three full baths
- Two-car garage
- Walkout deck on top floor of master bedroom
- Special sheetrock and window installations required for Energy Star rating
- Stainless-steel appliances, including oven, stove and convection microwave
- All flooring, paint and finishing complete.
A modular single-family house can save you a ton of money. These homes are pre-constructed in a factory, and then fit together on your property. Construction usually takes much less time — but expect much fewer options for customization. Nationally, you'll spend on average about $110 per square foot to have the home built and delivered, but that quote may not include plumbing, electrical, landscaping and other miscellaneous building charges.
Buying land can be an enormous expense — or not that expensive at all. Sometimes, your contractor already owns the lot, and the land cost is included in the building fees. This is common if you're purchasing in a pre-planned community.
But maybe your dream home is tucked away in the mountains or on a vast farmland spread. Land prices vary dramatically, and that price can be affected by lot size. A small plot with no existing utilities hookups could cost as little as $1,000, but desirable areas and larger lots may mean spending dramatically more.
Typically, any changes or additions to the structure on a piece of land will need a building permit -- including the construction of a new home. Permit costs vary from county to county, and vary by the extent of the improvement project, but expect to pay $1,000 or more on average nationally in permit fees to build a new home.
Hiring a professional contractor first will help save you some cash. Don't start with the designer or architect. Builders understand how different design and finish decisions affect the final price, and will work with you to ensure your dream abode stays on budget. If you hire the architect or designer before consulting with a builder, you may end up with pie-in-the-sky building plans vastly out of budget... and you'll need those plans revised again once you hit a reality check. That's expensive. A builder provides a top-down look at your entire project — including its feasibility.
Typically, you'll pay the builder or contractor a down payment before the project begins – some states limit the advance payment to 10% of the total cost of the project. You'll then pay the builder in increments, or after the job is completed, for labor, any subcontractors needed, and materials. Work with the builder to develop a home-building payment plan that works for your financial capabilities.
"A lot of times, anybody that’s remodeling or doing any major improvement in their home doesn’t know what to expect. They really don’t. They don’t know where to start.
I’ll pretend like it’s my home. “If this were my home and this is what I wanted to do, this is how I would start.” And then I give them scenarios why they might be over budget or under budget. You kind of add or subtract products that may not fit into their budget.
And then you give them a realistic timeline of how long it’s going to take.
Do your research before you call a contractor. Don’t go with the first quote. Get three. I always insist, even if I’m the first person they called. Because at least they know I’m either competitive, way out there, or way cheap and approach me intelligently rather than just saying well go with me or say you’re too expensive. Based on what? I’m the only one who gave you a quote, right? It’s always good to have three quotes.
My name is Ricc Brindicci, I’m a contractor, and you can find me on Thumbtack."