Being a homeowner is part of the American dream. For most, that means buying a house when they can afford it. But some prefer a custom home. If you’re one of those people who would like that, you might ask, how much is residential construction cost per square foot by zip code?
The average cost of construction per square foot is $150. There are over 40,000 ZIP codes, so it’s best to use online tools to determine the cost in your area. But there are challenges with using this calculation as it excludes land costs, excavation and basements, and differences in materials.
However, cost per square foot is a good place to start when determining the amount you’ll spend on construction. You’ll realize that custom homes aren’t cheaper when you add the extra costs. But they could be worth it. Here, we discuss the cost of residential construction per square foot.
Average Cost of Residential Construction Per Square Foot
The cost of home construction per square foot in the US is $150. The actual cost varies by location. So, knowing the applicable cost in your zip code could help you determine how much you’ll spend on building a house. But the cost per square foot isn’t always exact when determining the overall construction costs. There are several places where homes might cost more than $200 per square foot, and even the cost of building different homes in the same area might vary due to obvious reasons. But knowing your cost of construction per zip code can be a good place to start.
Cost of Construction by State
The number of ZIP codes in the US varies periodically. But there are currently over 40,000 zip codes in the country. Despite the difference in the codes, there may not be so much difference in the cost of construction. Thus, we look at the average cost of construction by the square foot in each state to see the differences:
|S/N||State||Average construction cost per square foot|
|09||District of Columbia||$172.34|
While the average in every state apart from Hawaii is less than $200, there are some cities in certain states where the cost per square foot could be up to $200. If you want to know the cost per square foot for construction for your zip code, there are online tools that you can use that’ll give you the exact figures.
Challenges With Using Construction Cost Per Square Foot
The construction per square foot cost is a good reference number when estimating how much you’ll need to build a new home. But it doesn’t tell the whole story due to the following reasons:
1. Land Cost
The construction per square foot cost doesn’t include buying land, which you’ll need when building a custom house. In addition, even if you already have land, there are still additional costs for site development, clearing, permits, drives, utilities, etc. These are essential to the construction and will require you to spend thousands more than your budget if you use the construction cost per square foot.
2. Excavation and basement costs
Excavation is necessary for construction, and if you’re planning to add a basement to your house, you might be digging a little deeper. But the construction cost per square foot only focuses on the livable space, which means it won’t include the cost of excavation and creating the basement. You’ll need to include this in the budget yourself to arrive at a closer estimate of what you need for the construction.
3. Difference in Finishes, Materials, and Appliances
The actual amount you’ll spend on the house will depend on the materials. Materials and appliances usually take the most of the money spent on construction, and they’ll differ from one house to another. For example, it’s possible to spend as much as $400 per square foot if you choose to go for high-end materials and finishes in your house. The more quality and luxurious the appliances and materials you’re using, the more you’ll have to spend. Thus, knowing the construction cost per square foot in your zip code only gives you an idea of what an average home in your area might cost, and yours could cost a lot more or less depending on what you go with.
4. Total Constructed Square Feet
Beyond your living space, your house lot might have a crawlspace, porch, garage, playground, decks, patios, etc. The construction cost per square foot doesn’t include all these costs, so you’ll have to add them. You’ll be surprised at what the actual cost of construction will look like after this.
Are Custom Homes Cheaper?
Custom homes are rarely cheaper than already built homes of the same quality unless you’re the one building them yourself. Even then, you’ll only save between 6% and 9% of the total cost, which is the contractor’s profit. With custom homes, the general contractor is specifically designing for you. So, they’ll also charge more for them to get a good profit margin. But such homes can be a great investment nonetheless, especially if you want something that matches your style. However, avoid building something that’s too distinct if you’re thinking of selling in the future.
The construction cost per square foot differs from one location to another and constantly changes. The best way to determine yours is to use interactive online tools that calculate these costs once you enter your zip code. But you still need to consider additional costs.