How Much Does It Cost To Build A House?
$155,310 – $416,250 ($100 – $155 Per SF)
New home construction costs $100 to $155 per square foot on average with most homeowners paying $155,000 to $416,250, in addition to the cost of your land. Costs vary considerably based on location and all your choices in design and interior and exterior finishes. Check out our cost guide below, or get free estimates from home builders near you.
Average Cost To Build A House
The average cost to build a house is $248,000, or between $100 to $155 per square foot depending on your location, size of the home, and if modern or custom designs are used. New home construction for a 2,000 square foot home runs $201,000 to $310,000 on average.
Building a custom designed dream home will usually end up costing more than if you were to buy a new home already built in a subdivision, or if you work with a developer that has floorplans to choose from. New home construction takes up to one year to complete, and there are many steps to the home building process that we will cover in detail.
|National Average Cost||$248,000|
|Average Range||$178,000 to $416,000|
If you do decide to go custom, your dream home will only account for 75% or less of your final costs. Then you’ll have to factor in the cost of the land, financing, finishing out the lot, landscaping, and more which can add up to $80,000 or more.
Cost Per Square Foot to Build a House
According to the National Association of Home Builders, a general contractor's expenses are $85 per square foot for new home construction. Add overhead, profit, and finishing, and the average cost per square foot to build a house is $100 to $155 depending on the region.
|Region||Cost Per Square Foot|
Data is from the US Census Bureau Survey 2017 accounting for inflation and appreciation levels. Prices per square foot in your area will also depend on local material and labor costs. For instance, you will pay about $175 per square foot to build a mid-range house in Austin, TX, and $135 per square foot in North Dakota.
Table of Contents
- Cost To Build a 2, 3, or 4 Bedroom House
- Cost to Build a Custom Home
- Developers and Home Builders
- Additional Price Factors
- Material Cost
- Labor Cost
- Home Building Cost Breakdown
- Site & Prep Work
- Exterior Finishes
- Major Systems
- Interior Finishing
- Final Details
Building A House Cost Estimator
The chart below gives cost estimates to build a house across a range of sizes, using a low-end cost of $100 per square foot, an average modern build at $155 per square foot, and a high-end custom builds at $400 per square foot.
Cost To Build a 2, 3, or 4 Bedroom House
The average cost of building a 3-bedroom house is between $248,000 and $310,000, while the cost to build a 4-bedroom house about $388,000 to $465,000, and the cost to build a small 2-bed home is about $93,000 to $155,000.
Here are the average costs to build a single-family home by square footage.
|Square Feet||Lower-End||Average Modern||High-End Custom|
There will be many variables in your final cost depending on where you live, the total square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, type of flooring, cabinets, appliances, etc.
In a 2017 analysis of new builds by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development:
- 46% have 4 bedrooms or more
- 44% have 3 bedrooms
- 10% have 2 bedrooms or fewer
Cost to Build a Custom Home
The cost to build a fully custom home will range from $200 to $550 per square foot based on location and your choices in design and interior and exterior finishes. Most people will also need to buy land to build the house on.
Hiring a custom home designer will add 10% to 17% more to your budget, and high-end professionals charge $30,000 to $50,000. To get accurate bids from general contractors, you’ll need to have an architect both turn your ideas into blueprints and to work with structural engineers and planning agencies. Hiring an architect for custom homes can also add 10% to 17% more to your budget.
By choosing all your design options up front, or by going with a developer with pre-designed options you can save up to 30%.
Developers and Home Builders
New home construction costs with a developer can be approximately 15% less than with a custom home builder. Developers plan subdivisions and offer a range of floorplans to select from. Developers build many houses at once, so houses typically cost less each than a custom home, and they’re likely to be completed faster too.
Developments range in price from first-time buyers to established couples seeking a luxury home. Most developer planned subdivisions will also have a playground, picnic tables, a BBQ area, and even a pool. On the downside, it could mean there is construction around your home for some time, and it won't be custom designed.
Custom home builders can develop anything you want once you have all the design features in the blueprint. However, your home will cost more purely because they are giving your home their exclusive focus and ordering in materials and hiring workers for one house.
Additional Price Factors
When looking at prices to build your own home, the average prices we have listed here are just averages, and with the range of customization possible, there is a potential for the final price for your home to differ significantly depending on where you live and the options you choose. Some of the more significant pricing implications include
- Land – In addition to the cost of the land, when you buy your own lot, you'll need to have the land cleared and graded for construction.
- Size – More square footage equals a higher cost.
- Number of Stories – The cost to design, build, and develop home with two or more stories will add to your overall cost.
- Pools, Decks, Fencing, & Landscaping – The cost to build a deck, install an inground pool, and install landscaping can add tens of thousands to your price. Fencing prices can range from $10 to $30 per foot depending on if you go with a picket fence or more expensive vinyl fencing.
- Finishes & Fixtures – The quality of fixtures and finished will affect your overall budget. Adding high-end granite countertops or hardwood flooring come at an additional cost.
- Type of Roof – A new roof costs $7,211 to install on average, but with a high-end solar roof expect to spend $40,000 or more
- Appliances – High-end appliances like an internet-enabled fridge often cost 2 or 3 times the cost, plus wiring and plumbing expenses.
New Home Construction Costs
The cost of materials and labor to build a house will average around 75% of your home's final price. Below we'll cover all the home building costs in our breakdown.
Material Cost to Build a House
The material cost to build a house is about $50 per square foot or between 41.5% and 51% of the build cost. For a two-story 2,776 square foot home, the construction materials would account for around $140,000 and would cover framing, foundation, roofing, siding, interior and exterior doors, windows, insulation, drywall, siding, paint, flooring, electrical, plumbing fixtures, and light fixtures.
Add an average of $8,729 for HVAC, $3,430 for cabinets, and $2,378 for appliances. Material costs will vary depending on your building material choices re long-term durability, eco-friendliness, energy costs, and social costs.
Labor Cost to Build a House
The average labor cost to build a home is roughly 39% of the total build cost and works out to about $34 per square foot. The labor cost on an average 2,776 square foot home will run about $68,000. The ratio of labor cost to material costs is about $1.28 in labor for every $1 in materials—for baseline costs—and more with more ornate materials or custom work because of the higher cost of architects and master craftsmen.
- Architects’ fees can range between $125 to $250 per hour.
- Master electricians’ fees range from $35 to $55 per hour.
- Bricklayers charge about $38 per hour.
Home Building Cost Breakdown
There are so many major components or stages in residential construction that your costs will vary considerably depending on the quality of each aspect of your home build. The National Association of Home Builders says that on average, for a 2,776-square-foot home, you’ll pay:
Cost of House Plans
The cost of house plans ranges from $500 up to $2,500, while an architect will cost an average hourly rate of $60 and $130 per hour, or between $2 to $5 per square foot, for the design work. Our sample 2,776 sqft. home has the architect cost at $6,000.
Site & Prep Work
Site work includes building permit fees of $400 to $4,000, impact fees of approximately $2,000 to $3,800 or more to cover connecting the property to local public services like water and sewer facilities, water and sewer inspection fees of around $5,000, and architecture and engineering fees of about $3,300.
The average cost to pour a concrete foundation is $26,750 for a house that’s 2,776 square feet which includes excavation, foundation, concrete, retaining walls, and backfill. A concrete slab alone costs $6 per square foot, soil grading or land could amount to $3,300, and if there are abnormal efforts required for excavation because of rocks in the earth, or if the addition of retaining walls are needed, the cost for the foundation could go up anywhere from an additional $5,000 to $20,000.
Cost to Frame a House
According to Craftsman’s National Estimator, the cost to frame a house ranges from $13 per square foot for lumber and labor costs for a single-story home and $22 per square foot for a two-story home.
Framing a 2,776 square foot home costs about $42,850 or $15 per square foot, which includes framing the home and the roof, trusses, sheathing, and any metal and steel. The cost of lumber to build a house does fluctuate some, and it is the only variable that could have a significant impact on the final cost of framing your home.
Once the foundation has been laid, and the framing is constructed, creating the look for the exterior of the home is completed through the installation of the walls, siding, windows, doors, and the roof. In most cases the final cost for exterior finishes will total around $35,000 and include the following:
|Roof||$3,200 – $9,000|
|Windows||$5,000 – $10,000|
|Doors||$1,200 – $3,200|
|Vinyl Siding||$4,800 – $11,100|
Building a Brick House Cost
A layer of brick over the wood frame costs about $35,000 for a 2,000-square-foot house. A brick or solid-masonry house has a brick frame rather than one made of wood. Finding a stonemason to build this can be nigh impossible, as these types of homes have not been developed for about fifty years.
Cost to Build a Log Home or Stone House
Your log cabin shell—the exterior—will cost about $2,800 to $7,075 per 100 square feet. If you’d rather live a sustainable life off-grid, you can build a solid stone shell with stones and mortar for about $10 per square foot. Stone siding on a wood frame costs about $0.31 to $7.59 per square foot.
Major Systems Installation
Major systems include rough-in plumbing costs, electrical work, and HVAC systems. Rough-ins are the elements that don’t fall under general construction but are essential to the use of the home. Their combined cost averages around $34,000 and can include the following:
|HVAC||$3,300 – $5,912|
|Solar Panels||$17,000 – $20,000|
|Septic Tank||$3,000 – $5,000|
|Water Heater||$400 – $1,400|
The combined cost for interior finishes typically is twice the cost for exterior finishes and generally accounts for around $71,000 of the cost to build a home. The interior finishing covers everything to make the interior of the home beautiful as well as useable and can include the following:
|Flooring||$1,400 – $13,800|
|Tile||$800 – $5,000|
|Insulation||$900 – $2,200|
|Kitchen Cabinets||$3,200 – $8,500|
|Plumbing Fixtures||$150 – $350 each|
|Appliances||$3,500 – $15,000|
|Fireplace||$1,400 – $2,500|
The final details cost about $17,300 for our 2,776 sqft. house. These are a mix of some potentially necessary additions as well as some that are not essential and more of a nice-to-have feature. After the finishing touches, the final clean up will cost around $3,000 and can also include some of the following:
|Concrete Patio||$1,200 – $4,300|
|Driveway||$2,200 – $6,100|
|Deck||$4,380 – $10,000|
|Screened-In Porch||$600 – $3,500|
|Patio Enclosure||$8,100 – $18,700|
|Landscaping||$3,000 – $16,000|
Cost to Build A House Yourself
For potential homeowners looking to save money, building your own home costs about $70 per square foot and will save an average of 25%. On a typical home costing $248,000, you would save around $62,000.
Cost to Build a Modular Home
The cost to build a modular prefab home is approximately $110 per square foot. Of the three types of fabricated building structure options, modular homes are the most expensive, with a 2,400-square-foot home costing around $264,000.
|Level||Cost Per Square Foot||Features|
|Base||$50||No customizations or alterations.|
|Custom||$60||Base price and selected options and upgrades.|
|Delivered||$65||Custom price and delivery.|
|Finished||$110||Delivered price and site prep, foundation, porch, etc.|
After this, there could still be costs related to land, utility hookups, landscaping, driveways, permits, taxes, and fees.
- Manufactured Homes – can look like both modular or traditional site-built homes. A major difference with manufactured homes is that they are built to HUD code in a climate-controlled environment.
- Modular Homes – Modular homes are built in sections which are assembled and, like manufactured homes, built constructed in climate-controlled manufacturing environments. These homes are built to state and local codes to ensure they pass inspection once in place.
Cost to Build a Pole Barn House
The cost to build a pole barn house can run as high as $120,000 or more depending on many factors. A basic unfinished 2,400 square foot pole barn shell costs between $20,000 to $40,000. The price of your pole barn will largely depend upon its size.
Cost to Build a Shipping Container Home
You can also finish out a shipping container for about $60,000 to $90,000. A large home built from shipping containers can cost between $150,000 and $175,000, which is generally about half the price of a traditional home of the same size. Shipping container houses take about 30% less time to build than a traditional home. The following costs are related to turning a container into a home.
- Container - $5,600 for a 40-foot container
- Foundation - $550–$5,900
- Insulation – $1.75 to $3 per square foot
- Drywall Installation – $1.60–$2.35 per square foot
- Additional Interior Finishing – $40,000
- External Finish – Stucco cost $6 to $10 per square foot and timber costs $2 to $3 per square foot
Cost to Build a Tiny House
The average tiny house will cost from $25,000 to $35,000, but you can build one for less. One couple built a 24-foot-long, 8-foot-wide and 13-foot-tall tiny home for $8,000 by using cheap or free lumber, along with sourcing items for free on Craigslist and Habitat for Humanity Restore locations. Finally, for the base structure of the home, they built the house on a trailer frame.
Tiny homes are generally considered dwellings of less than 500 square feet. Another option in this arena is to purchase a new prefabricated tiny home. Simple Terra offers a 1-bedroom container home with 320 square feet of interior space and a 160-square-foot outdoor covered deck for $38,000. They can be delivered with or without interior walls.
Cost to Build a Small House
Small houses of around 600 square feet average about $50,000 to $70,000 to build. If a tiny house is too small for your family, you could build something that qualifies as a small house to save money. Building materials account for just over $31,000, and labor costs total $25,500. In addition to those construction costs, another $20,000 will be needed for utility hookup, building permits, construction plans, and contractor overhead and profit.
Cost to Build a Guest House
The cost to build a 600-square-foot guest house is about $50,000 to $70,000 for an average quality version, $120,000 for a custom version, and as much as $330,000 for a high-end custom guest house. Other options for building a guest house include tiny homes, container homes, and modular homes. In many cases, one of these could be cheaper and finished out faster.
Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a House?
Depending on a wide range of factors, it could be anywhere from $0 to $50,000 or more to build a home versus buy a home. If you already own the land, the total cost of building your own home will compare better to buying a home.
If you buy an existing home: The National Association of Realtors’ says the median cost of buying an existing single-family house is about $260,000. The seller's real estate agent and appraiser will determine the sales price when buying a home. Also, your location will factor in considerably into the final price. For example, homes in the Northeast are about 55% more expensive than homes in the South.
If you build a new home: According to US Census Bureau, the median price to buy a new home is $302,700, with the lowest prices in the South at $100.40 per square foot, and the highest rates in the Northeast at $155.21 per square foot.
This price does not include the cost for land or a septic system and water and electrical lines for new construction—if you are building in a rural area. The main difference is that you'll be getting a brand new home instead of one that may be 20 to 60 years old.
Buying Land and Building a House Costs
Another significant element in the cost to build a house is the price of the land, unless you already own a plot where you would like to build your home. Your location could make a difference of millions. A plot can cost as little as $5,000 in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, or as expensive as $2,000,000 or more in California or New York.
Even if you own the land, you might have to demolish an existing home for $5 and $10 per square foot before the construction of your new home.
The cost to build a house on your own land could still be higher than buying an existing home, because of the cost of a land survey, grade the land, put in a septic tank, bring utility lines and systems to the property, etc.
Building A New House Checklist
Compared to buying in a subdivision that is being developed, you have a lot more control and influence on the project when building a custom home with your selected general contractor. However, you'll also have a higher degree of responsibility and decisions that will need to be made along the way. Unless you are well acquainted with everything that needs to be done, the following checklist will help you navigate the home building process with confidence.
- Create Budget
- Purchase Property
- Choose a Construction Method
- Develop Plans or Designs
- Obtain Permits and Inspections
- Purchase Construction Insurance
- Begin Construction
- Book a Final Inspection
- Complete Landscaping
You will need to contact a lender and figure out what kind of mortgage you will qualify for. Once you have a handle on the total budget for your new home build and have some idea of the costs per square foot, you can begin to draw up your plans without getting carried away and designing something you won’t be able to accomplish.
You will need to find the right spot for your new home. If you are buying a plot that currently has a house which will need to be demolished, you will save a little when it comes to electrical and sewer connection fees, since those would have already been in place for the previous home. If you are buying raw, undeveloped land in a rural setting, you might have to add a septic tank for your wastewater needs. You will also need to run utility lines back to your property, and possibly factor in the cost of grading the land and laying a driveway.
Choose a Construction Method
In most cases, the budget for your project will determine the type of construction to be undertaken for the new home. In addition to traditional construction methods, others available include complete prefabricated homes, modular homes, home kits, barndominiums, container homes, pre-built tiny homes, and the newest process—3D printed home structures.
Develop Plans or Designs
- Establish the number of bedrooms along with their sizes and locations.
- Decide on the kitchen size and location and the size of the main living area.
- If you are going to do most of the design work yourself, you can find a vast range of examples online that you can use to inspire and guide your design efforts. Alternatively, you can purchase plans that fit with your overall plans regarding total size and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- If you have room in the budget, you can hire an architect to bring your vision to life in the design of your new home. From these choices, the least expensive is going with a design your contractor has already worked with or purchasing plans online for the contractor to build to.
Obtain Permits and Inspections
Your contractor can accurately schedule out the inspections that will need to be carried out during construction. Depending on where you live, your building permit costs will range between $400 and $4,000, and inspections will cost an average of $5,000.
Purchase Construction Insurance
For the most peace of mind, select a contractor who has adequate insurance to cover the project through all phases of construction. Alternatively, if you are doing a low-cost hybrid construction project with many different contractors involved, including you doing certain portions of the work, you won’t need to purchase construction insurance.
With your land purchased and prepared for construction, your construction loan approved, budget finalized, plans drawn up, your contractor selected, and your permits approved, your contractor can be scheduled to break ground and begin the prep work for the foundation as the first phase of your construction.
Book a Final Inspection
Once built, you or your contractor will need to schedule a final inspection to obtain a certificate of occupancy. This is the official document that verifies that all work on the home was done to code and the structure is safe for people to live in.
You can either wait until the entire home is complete before getting the landscaping done or start as soon as the foundation and framing of the house are finished. The other major factor at play regarding when this will take place is related to what you are having planted on your property in respect to trees, plants, and shrubs and what time of year they are best planted in.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost To Build A 1,500 Square Foot House?
The basic price most homeowners will pay to build a 1,500 square foot home is $128,475 while an entry-level custom home of the same size will average around $300,000, and a high-end custom home around $675,000.
How Much Does It Cost To Build A 2,500 Square Foot House?
The basic price most homeowners will pay to build a 2,500 square foot home is $250,000, while an entry level custom home of the same size will average around $388,000, and a high-end custom home around $1,000,000.
What Is The Cheapest House To Build Per Square Foot?
A pole barn house completely finished out will cost $30 to $45 per square foot which makes it the cheapest house to build with quality in mind.
What Is The Cheapest Way To Build A House?
- Design your house down to the tiniest detail.
- Any different shapes have different cost implications, with squares being the least expensive and curved walls being more expensive. In addition, look for ways to create storage space to free up more living space.
- Study what you can about the home building process so you can be better positioned to select the right contractor for the job. Also, so you will understand everything your contractor will be addressing in the planning stage, and throughout the construction work.
- Study our Home Improvement Cost Estimator as much as you can to get an idea of average costs for each stage of your home build.
- Spend a lot of time selecting your contractor and ask what software they use for cost and effort estimation, and how their team tracks and reports progress daily. Online tools are available for builders that allow the client to log in and see the progress of each component of the build, and even show pictures so you can be entirely up to speed with each phase as it moves forward.
- Solicit bids from 3 to 5 contractors, check their online reviews, make sure they have insurance, and meet with them in person to walk you through their proposals.
- The cheapest way to build a house is something that has two data points – the cost now and the cost later. Many materials used in the construction of your home will be available in a variety of qualities and prices. Some materials may be cheaper now but lead to a higher cost of ownership because of maintenance, energy costs, and replacement costs down the road. Consider this before you choose the cheapest options.
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