New Construction Square Foot Costs

By Todd Fratzel on Home Improvement Cost Savings, House Plans

 New Construction Square Foot CostsEvery 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.

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3 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?

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