In 2023, the median price to build a home from scratch is roughly $446,000. That doesn’t include the price of land, which costs $9,646 per acre, on average — though the actual price will depend entirely on where you live.
Compared with the average home price (about $357,810), building a home from scratch will likely be more expensive. The benefit of building over buying, however, is that you’re in complete control of the home’s construction: you decide the home’s layout, features, materials.
Whether you end up building or buying, be sure to team up with a local agent. Even if you’re not buying off the market, an agent can help you choose a good location for a build, connect you with experts in their network (such as architects and general contractors), and help you locate the best suppliers for materials.
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How much does it cost to build a house?
If you’re going to build a customized home in 2023, expect to pay around $446,000 for materials and labor. Keep in mind this price can vary heavily depending on where you live, the materials you want to use, and the square footage you choose for your home. A beach house in a seaside city, for instance, might cost as much as a large lake house in a rural area or a small single-family home in a major metro.
Cost to buy land
In addition to labor and materials, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of land. The average nationwide cost for an acre of land is around $9,645, with Wyoming being the cheapest state to buy land ($1,558 per acre) and New Jersey being the most expensive ($196,410).
Is it cheaper to buy or build a home?
It’s typically cheaper and easier to buy an existing home than to build one from scratch. The national home value in 2022 sits at about $357,810, which is over $88,000 cheaper than the nationwide average for building one ($446,000).
That said, in some competitive markets, in which buyers are making offers WAY above the asking price, it might actually be cheaper to build the house you want. You’ll just have to make sure you have the time to wait for your new home: a fully custom home takes about a year to build.
A custom-built house ensures you’re getting all the features you want. And you won’t have to face steep competition and bidding wars to get it. But it comes with its own issues, and 66% of new construction buyers report some form of buyer’s remorse.
Cost to build a house by state
|State||Average cost||State||Average cost|
Cost to build a house by square footage
|Square footage||Avg. low-end cost||Avg. high-end cost|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$100,000||$200,000|
|1,500 sq. ft.||$150,000||$300,000|
|2,000 sq. ft.||$200,000||$400,000|
|2.500 sq. ft.||$250,000||$500,000|
|3,000 sq. ft.||$300,000||$600,000|
Cost to build a house by number of bedrooms
|Number of bedrooms||Avg. cost||Typical square footage|
|3-bedroom home||$146,400||976–2,400 sq. ft.|
|4-bedroom home||$285,000||1,900–2,800 sq. ft.|
|5-bedroom home||$375,000||2,500–3,000 sq. ft.|
What is the labor cost to build a house?
Labor costs will take up a sizable chunk of your total home build budget: around 30–50%, according to HomeAdvisor. Who you hire will ultimately determine how much you pay, but a few experts you’ll likely enlist include:
- Architect (5–20%)
- General contractor (10–20%)
- Framer ($3,801 average)
- Electrician ($1,428 average)
- Plumber ($45–200/hr)
Architect (5–20% of total construction cost)
Architects design a home that fits your needs and preferences: create blueprints, solve structural and engineering problems, and sometimes even oversee construction. Most architects will charge a percentage of the total construction cost, but some will charge $125–250 per hour. The total cost will depend on the size and complexity of your home, as well as the market (architects that serve a large area can command a higher price.
General contractor (10–20% of total construction cost)
The general contractor is responsible for executing the architect’s blueprint. They’ll typically manage a team of subcontractors who then follow the blueprint’s specifications and construct the home exactly as it’s designed.
Framer (average of $3,801)
Framers are responsible for constructing the wood frame of your home, including the walls, floors, and roof. In general, you can expect to pay between $1,365 and $6,373 per framing project — the larger the square footage, the higher the cost.
Electrician (average of $1,428)
Your electrician will wire your home, ensure it complies with building codes, and set up controls for lighting systems. To wire a new house, you should expect to pay an electrician between $561 and $2,302.
Plumber ($45–200 per hour)
Plumbers outfit your home with piping systems, install water heaters, and connect your home to municipal waterworks and waste management systems. The total cost you pay a plumber will depend on how large your home is.
How much do materials cost to build a house?
After the pandemic led to material shortages and pricing hikes, the cost of building materials has started to fall — not yet to pre-pandemic levels, though. You’ll likely spend around 50% of your total construction costs on materials alone.
Here are the most common materials:
|Building material||Avg. price per home build||Avg. price per sq. ft.|
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