How Much Does It Cost to Build a House

Before deciding how to secure funding for your project, it’s essential to know how much you need to build a house. If you plan to build a 2,600 sq. ft. single-family house in the U.S., you need to have around $153,530 to $477,255. Most homeowners spend an average of $302,635 to erect a home, but you can also expect to pay upwards of $800,000 for a high-cost, custom-built house with premier materials and finishes.

House Building Cost by Location/Region

The average cost of building a home in the U.S. varies from state to state and city to city. Most builders calculate the cost per square foot. When calculating house building costs, it’s also vital to include extra costs such as landscaping and construction of special areas such as basements, garages, and outdoor spaces, including decks and patios. According to experts in the industry, the national house building cost average per square foot is $163. The spread across different regions is as follows:


We can also look at the average cost of building a house in the U.S. in terms of the total cost of the project. On average, the cost of building a house is lowest in Georgia at $100,000 and highest in New York at $750,000.

Cost per Sq. footage

House building cost per square foot depends on several factors, but the most important are location, size, and quality of finishes. For instance, you can expect to pay about $400 per square foot in prime areas such as New York or San Francisco. On average, though, the cost of building a single-family house in the United States ranges from $100 to $200. Fortunately, most builders give building estimates per square foot.

The cost per sq. footage depends on different environmental conditions such as terrain, zoning requirements, ground condition, site accessibility, and amenities such as water supply reticulation, site drainage, and electrification. It will also vary depending on local construction index aspects such as the cost of materials and labor.

House Building Cost Breakdown

An excellent way of calculating the cost of building a house is to breakdown the costs according to the different stages of the project. According to NAHB, the cost of building a home is as follows.

Construction Cost BreakdownAverage CostShare of Construction Cost
Site works (Includes water & sewerage inspection fees, building permit fees, impact fees, engineering and architecture fees$18, 3236.2%
Foundation (Includes back fill, retaining walls, foundations, excavation and concrete)$34, 85011.8%
Exterior finishes (Includes roofing, exterior wall finish, doors and windows)$41,69014.1%
Framing (Includes roof framing, sheathing, trusses and general metal)$51, 58917.4%
Interior finishes (Includes lighting, painting, insulation, appliances, drywall, fireplace, flooring, plumbing fixtures, countertops and cabinets)$75, 35925.4%
Major systems rough-ins (Includes HVAC, electrical and plumbing)$43, 66814.7%
Final steps (Includes landscaping, driveways, cleanup, and outdoor structures like patio, deck and porches)$20, 1166.8%

Site Works

After identifying where you want to build your house, your next task is to make site work payments. This includes fees such as inspections, building plans, and permits. Such charges are in preparation for the actual construction works. The highest cost, in this case, is the water and sewer inspection fees. The government also charges an impact fee to cater to public services such as water treatment, roads, and parks.


Foundation work involves breaking ground for your new home. It’s the actual start of your building project. This process, also called excavation, involves making a level ground where the house will be erected. Excavation needs heavy-duty equipment and professional operators to level the ground. The cost of breaking ground depends on the site.

For instance, if the plot of land where you want to build your home has huge rocks that must be removed, the cost could be higher. After excavation, your contractor lays a foundation that comprises concrete and lumber. If your home includes a basement, the cost of laying a foundation will be higher. The same applies if your house will require retaining walls. Since the foundation lays the success of the subsequent building phases, it’s essential to engage a competent builder.


Framing determines the location and size of rooms and other crucial features in your house, such as roofing. It comprises the home’s typical frame, general metalwork, and trusses. Framers also install windows, doors, subfloor, and sheathing. Framing is one of the highest costs when building a house.

Exterior & Interior Finishing

Once the framing is complete, it’s time to install interior and exterior finishings. Both finishings account for about 40-55% of the total cost of house construction. The exterior finishes comprise doors, windows, wall finishings, and roofing. According to NAHB, the average cost of exterior finishes is $41,700, while HomeAdvisor says it ranges between $20,000 and $95,000.

On the other hand, interior finishes comprise flooring, interior trims, drywall, insulation, lighting, mirrors, and painting. They also include functional elements such as appliances, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, countertops, and fireplaces. Typically, the cost depends on the brands you select. NAHB offers an estimate of $75,000 for interior finishes, while HomeAdvisor lists a range of $42,000 to $167,000.

Major Systems Installation

Major systems in your house include electricity, HVAC, and plumbing. You should not include the fixtures’ cost related to electrical and plumbing systems because they’re part of interior finishes.

Appliances and Furniture

Once your house is complete, you’ll need to purchase furniture and appliances for different rooms. The cost of these items depends on the brand and quality. Expect to pay more if you go with premier quality furniture and appliances.


When setting a budget for your house, it’s crucial to include miscellaneous costs to cater for unexpected expenses. One of the best ways of minimizing the cost of building a home is to hire the most skilled and experienced builder.

Labor Cost to Build a House

Labor costs account for 30% to 60% of the actual house building costs. These costs will also depend on your location, your contractor, size, and complexity of your project. For instance, big custom-built homes attract higher labor costs compared to small production homes.

Other Costs

Other extra costs of building a house include the following:

  • Land Prices: An average family home sits on 2 acres, with an acre going for around $5,500 in Yell County, Arkansas, but an acre in Kings County, New York, costs $23 million. Bottom line is, the cost of acquiring a piece of land to build on is dependent on the location you are in.
  • Hardscaping and Landscaping: Hardscaping involves building patios, driveways, and walkways, while landscaping comprises outdoor lighting, planting trees, laying sod, and irrigation system installation.
  • Final Cleanup: Once the construction work is over, there’s always debris left that needs to be cleaned/removed. Include final cleanup fees in your house building cost.
  • Sales Tax: All materials the builder will use in the project include a sales tax.
  • Real Estate Tax and Insurance: After purchasing land to build a house, be prepared to pay real estate taxes. You’ll also need to buy a home owner’s insurance policy once your building project starts. You should also ensure your builder and subcontractors have insurance to cater for any injuries and emergencies during the construction process.

Building a Custom Home vs. Using an Existing Design

When you choose to build a home using an existing design, the process is faster. Besides, the option comes with enormous cost-savings because you don’t have to build everything from scratch. This means you’ll move into your home faster.

Custom homes, on the other hand, come with the advantage of flexibility and choice. As a homeowner, you have the freedom to participate in everything, from site selection to finish decisions. In short, the home is built to meet your needs, preference and lifestyle. Custom homes are often of higher quality because of the extra attention accorded to them.

The flexibility linked to custom homes comes at a higher cost in terms of time and cost. As a prospective homeowner, you have to make more decisions, and the project is at risk of errors and mistakes. Also, unseen costs are not very clear at the start of the project and may significantly increase by the end of the project.  

Therefore, if you’re planning to build a custom home, you should anticipate extra costs unique to your project.

How Do I Get an Estimate for Building a House?

You can use two methods to get an estimate of how much you’ll spend to build a new house. They include:

  • Construction cost calculators: These calculators are an excellent way of calculating construction costs. But before using the calculator, it’s vital to know any assumptions the tool is making to get an accurate estimate.
  • Custom quote: Before asking for a custom quote for your house, ensure you have a comprehensive design and construction plan. Use these documents to get quotes from several contractors. These plans consider all specific aspects of the project, including the house’s features, layout, and size. Ensure you’re aware of what the quote includes. For example, does it include driveway construction, site clearance, landscaping, and fencing costs?

Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a Home?

Typically, it’s more cost-effective to purchase a house than to build one, although there are a few exceptions. For instance, you can build a tiny house cheaper than it would have cost you to buy one. All in all, the cost depends on many factors.

Want to Build a House Now?

Building a home is a significant investment, and that’s why you should work with experienced professionals. If you’re in search of a trusted builder for your family home in any state, we’re ready to connect you to a top-rated builder. Visit our website for comprehensive information about the best builders in your area. Our goal is to meet and exceed your expectations!

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