New Construction Square Foot Costs

By Todd Fratzel on Home Improvement Cost Savings, House Plans

Every day someone asks me what is the average square foot cost for new home construction. Or they ask can you build me a house for $150 a square foot. The answer is, it depends! Trying to set a standard square foot cost for new home construction is like trying to say there is a standard price for vehicles.

Many things effect the cost of new construction. Local labor rates, local weather conditions, product availability, available labor/trades, fuel prices can all effect the cost. The best answer I can give people around here is somewhere from $125 to $250 a square foot.

The real answer depends mostly on the type of home and level of finishes. The other major factor is whether or not your home is a single story or multi-story home. The reason for this is quite simple. If you build a 1400 square foot single level home and you build a 2800 square foot two story home, they will both have the same footprint (foundation). In both cases the cost of the foundation is the same yet both costs would be divided by different square footage. Here’s an example:

Let’s say a foundation that is 28’x50′ costs $15,000. The cost per square foot (of finished home) would be $15,000/1400 = $10.71/SF for the smaller home and $15,000/2800 = $5.36 for the larger home. So this is just one example showing how the square foot costs for new construction are effected by many different aspects.

I would say around here the average 2000 square foot home that we build (average finishes) runs about $150 a square foot without land. The best way to find out what things cost in your area is to call a few contractors and ask them what their typically square foot costs are. It’s so much easier to tell a customer that figure. Then you can use the average square foot costs as a starting point in planning your project.

My biggest advice to customers that are working with a tight budget is this. SQUARE footage costs money, it’s as simple as that. If you need to cut costs then focus on the size of your home. Think about it, if you want to shave $10,000 off your project that’s only 67 square feet or roughly a 6×10 room. Closets aren’t much larger than that.

So if you’re planning on building a new home make sure you do some research. If you use the average square foot costs as a guide to choosing floor plans you should be able to come up with a house design that fits your budget.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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16 Comments

  1. Very interesting Todd. I just wish I had read this before I started building our own home lol. Of course we are not paying for labor but I would of liked a formula to go by for the cost of materials. Is there a formula of the cost for materials per sf ? I’m adding a large one story blue room and for a close estimate of the cost is there a formula to figure material cost only? Then comes the garage next so without sitting down and figuring out how many box’s of stick nails, 2×4, plywood, insulation, ext… a formula that would give a close rough estimate would be nice to know.

    PS Nice Truck :)

    • Todd says:

      It really depends on the type of addition, foundation type, materials, etc. If you want to use the contact form and email me more specifics I can give you some ranges.

  2. Better yet Todd is there computer software that you can buy to download that will figure out the cost of materials by blue prints or square footage of the structure? I heard some where once that there was software that a person can buy that you can actually build a virtual house online and it will calculate a complete order list of materials and the approximate cost. Is this right and if so do you know the name of the software and where to buy it?

    • Frederick Beyne says:

      If building replacement home that is currently 1,800 sq. ft. one story with foundation already in three bedrooms 2 and a half baths(2 baths within bedroom)
      Brick exterior shingled roof and 2×6 exterior walls
      Indianapolis, Indiana 46226.

  3. Frederick Beyne says:

    What would sq. ft. price be?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Frederick,

      Simply too hard to say. I’d need a LOT more information, and, local costs will drive this. I’d speak with several local builders and ask for some pricing ranges.

  4. andy cid says:

    Hi Todd

    How much would it cost to build a simple square 25×25 or 650 – 750 SF ranch cottage on my property with 2×6’s in zip of 03031?(excluding the cost for plumbing, electric and the cost of foundation slab / piers

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Andy – That’s a tough one without plans. It would likely be $25,000 to $40,000 but this is a dart in the air without any real info.

  5. amber says:

    Any idea what a 1400 sq foot 32×44 rectangle house would be in Iowa on a slab. I only need cost per sq foot to see if it possible. Already have the land and it is city water/sewer. Not finishing the floors in 3/4 of the house. Just nicely finished epoxy concrete.

  6. Steve says:

    Hello Todd,

    I’ve been looking to purchase a home in the N. Conway and Madison area with 3 beds, 2 full baths, and roughly 1800 sq. ft. Recently, we looked in the Edelweiss development which has some nice properties with a lot to offer. Our ultimate goal would be to have a view, and the few homes that we looked at didn’t offer this. If I was to purchase the land and build a home similar to some of the Chalets homes in that neighborhood could you give me a ballpark figure? We would like an open floor plan for the kitchen, dining, and living room, possibly a loft bedroom as well. Obviously, we would like a deck or two to enjoy. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Steve – It’s so hard to give those kind of estimates without knowing the local conditions and where local pricing is coming in at. The best approach is calling a few builders and asking them what sq. ft. costs are running for similar houses. Open floor plans with moderate finishes, decks, decent landscaping are going to run most likely in the high 100’s to low 200’s per sq. ft.

  7. Jim says:

    Hi Todd,

    I’m looking to buy a piece of land in NH on a lake. I’m am open to design plans that will keep my costs down (this is new construction). I’m looking for about 1,200 sq. ft with a two car attached garage. Probably 3 bed with 2.5 bath, 1 fireplace. Think average material and an average building. Nothing too extravagant. Again, I’m completely open to modifying plans to make it the most economical. Any ideas on a rough cost per sq ft estimate that I could start with and then make modifications to plans to either increase or decrease that per sq. ft rough estimate. I’m just looking for a starting point in order to get a good idea of costs if I were to build. Thanks.

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Sq ft costs are SO difficult as they can vary widely. This is especially true on smaller homes (the size you’re talking about). Depending on the style I think you need to realistically plan on at least $175/sf up to $200/sf. That would include site work, concrete, and the house. That would not include the land. As I said that can vary a LOT! What lake are you looking at?

  8. Jim says:

    Thanks for the advice. I’m looking at some of the big ones winnipesaukee, winnisquam, squam, newfound plus some smaller ones (basically looking at the ones that they stock with Lake Trout and Land Locked Salmon). In order to support those kids of fish it has to be a deep lake. I understand that the cost you gave does not include the land. Ultimately that’s what I’m trying to figure out. Trying to get a good sense of what the building costs would be so I can figure out how much I can spend on the land. Thanks for your help. Jim

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Jim – We just built a house in Sunapee NH, it was next to the water on an old cottage footprint. The house was 24×36, 3 full finished stories, no garage, but a very large elevated deck. The house was roughly $500k including demo of the old house, new well, all site work, and sewer pump system. That house was roughly 2,600 sf plus decks and landscaping.

  9. Sarah Rix says:

    Hello Todd,
    My father is looking to add a 645 square-foot single-story concrete block apartment to the back of the property for me and my two year old son the structure would be 31.5 ft long and 20.5 ft wide in FL in zip 33704 I wanted to know roughly how much it would cost.

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