The average cost to build a house ranges from approximately $100 to $160 per square foot. We know — that's a big spread. But keep in mind your new home's size and where you live can dramatically affect the price.
Cost to build a house per square foot:
|Square footage||Average cost|
The next-biggest determining factor will be the fanciness of your bells and whistles. High-end furnishings, finishes and appliances have high price tags. Because prices can vary greatly, it's important to work with a contractor or house builder near you to figure out an accurate estimate for your new house.
Read this guide to learn more about the costs involved in building a house.
What's in this cost guide?
The average cost to build a (single-family) home is $296,652 or $114, according to the most recent data available from the National Association of Home Builders. Over the years, the cost per square foot has increased:
|Year||Price to build a home per square foot|
Because new-construction homes are typically priced by square footage, a larger home means a larger 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)||3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2-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)||3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-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)||4 bedrooms (plus a bonus room over the garage), 3 full baths, 2-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.|
When building your new home, be sure to also factor in the cost of interior painting, electrical work, plumbing and more.
|General contractor||10%-30% markup|
|Electrician||$45-$120 per hour|
|Plumber||$50-$140 per hour|
|Drywall||$30-$60 per panel|
|Flooring||$2-$45 per square foot|
|Concrete foundation||$4-$7 per square foot|
|Wiring||$1,500 to $10,000|
|Roofing||$4,700 to $9,200|
Here's a home construction cost breakdown that utilizes data from the NAHB:
|Details||% of total construction costs|
|Interior finishes (e.g., insulation, drywall, painting, flooring, appliances, etc.)||25%|
|Plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems||15%|
|Exterior finishes (e.g., roofing, exterior||14%|
|Landscaping, outdoor structures, driveway, clean up||7%|
|Site work (e.g., permits, inspections, etc.)||6%|
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 in permit fees to build a new home.
Generally, the per-square-foot cost to build a home ranges from $100 to $160 nationally. However, prices can vary by region. Building a new home in the South is much less expensive than constructing a home in the West or Northeast.
|Region||Cost per square foot|
Source: Census Bureau
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, Florida, 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.
Homes with standard finishing are modest and cozy — but not luxurious. Midrange 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.
|Level of finishing||Includes||Cost per sq. ft.|
|Standard||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||$175-$262|
|Midrange||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||$275-$310|
|High-end||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||$525-$1,110|
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 utility hookups could cost as little as $1,000, but desirable areas and larger lots may mean spending dramatically more.
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 of 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.
Hiring a professional contractor first will help save you some cash. Don't start with the designer or architect.
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.
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. They'll provide 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 your builder to develop a payment plan that works for you.
Use these tips from a Thumbtack pro to help ensure you hire the right contractor to build your home.
"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."