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Home Building Costs: The Price of Building a New House

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Home Building BasicsHome building costs are important for a number of reasons.  Knowing the price of building a new house is of particular importance if you are looking for a new home.  This might be your first home as an individual or as a couple – it makes no difference. The important factor is whether you are better to purchase an established property or have a new home built for you.

If you are lucky, and have the necessary skills, you may be able to construct your own home. Few people are able to do this, although even if you can, some of the factors below will apply to you. You are fundamentally considering whether it is less expensive to purchase or to build, taking into consideration the cost you are prepared to pay to have your home made to your own design and specifications.

Here are some home building costs that contribute to the price of building a new house. You can apply these or ignore them according to your personal needs.

Basic Home Building Costs: Services

Provision of services such as electricity, gas, water and sewage disposal will apply irrespective of the size of your new home. If your building plot is contained within an area already served with these facilities, then connection will be minimal.

However, if your home is few hundred yards from the nearest main sewer, water supply, gas mains and electrical supply, then the cost could be considerable.  Check with your local authority on the availability of these services, and with local companies for the connection costs. Local authorities may insist that the connection is carried out by their relevant municipal departments.

Materials of Construction

A prefabricated timber-framed home will cost a lot less to construct than a stone or brick-built house. You should take advice on the best material for your area.  Why use stone, brick or even cinder block when a wooden frame paneled with pine, cedar or even oak is sufficient in hot, dry climates such as Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico?

Keep in mind that we are discussing the construction of the fabric of the building here – the home building costs rather than whether you prefer granite kitchen counters or solid oak flooring blocks. Sure, standard laminate counter tops and regular carpeted flooring might involve less cost – but that could depend on whether you use American or Persian carpeting!

The Area of Your New Home

Without considering all the factors involved in home building costs, the area of a new home is irrelevant when calculating the price of building a new house unless all the other factors are the same. A 2,000 square-ft house can cost a lot more than a 4,000 square-ft house to build if the materials are different.

Area is relevant only when you compare like with like with respect to construction materials and the complexity of the home. For example, a two-bedroom property will likely cost a lot less to build than a 4-bedroom house of the same floor area. The rooms of the former will be larger, but there will be fewer internal walls and likely fewer electrical and heating outlets.

Also, keep in mind that building up is cheaper than building out. A two floor house will cost less to build than a single floor house of the same overall area. Apart from the land cost (you might have a larger yard or garden), the foundations are more costly than the cost of building a second floor.

Does Location Affect the Price of Building a New House?

Not in aesthetic terms, although land can cost more in ‘good areas’ and building regulations can vary. Building costs will be higher if your location involves more travel for materials and construction workers.  Apart from the provision of services discussed above, a solid rock base might need blasted, and building on a slope will cost more than level ground.

The cost of materials also varies.  So yes, location can affect the price of building a new house, but not because homes generally sell at higher prices. That is irrelevant to the actual building costs.

Size, Shape and Design Factors

As stated, the building cost per square foot is lower for multi-storey houses. Rectangular homes are cheaper to build than round or L-shaped versions.  The greater the complexity in its shape, the more a house will cost to build. The more bathrooms you have, the higher the cost will be due to the sewage and clean water supply requirements.

So a 4-bedroom will cost more if all bedrooms are en-suite rather than just two of them. Installing a wet bar in the basement will add to the cost, particularly if the water outlet has to be pumped upwards.

These are the main factors affecting home building costs, although the price of building a new house will also be influenced by the quality of the fixtures and fittings you select. These, however, are within your control while the basic building costs are not.

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