May 27, 2024
How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in 2024?

Finding your dream home isn’t always easy—especially in today’s real estate market. You’ve got to stalk the internet for new listings, cope with unprecedentedly high asking prices, attempt to outdo other bidders (without going broke), inevitably lose out on a few homes you love, and—after all that—compromise on your list of must-haves. At some point, you’re probably wondering if you could save yourself some money and stress by building a new house from the ground up. How much does it cost to build a house in total?

The average cost to build a house in 2024 is $329,000, or about $150 per square foot, according to Forbes. However, that figure comes with a huge caveat: The price of building a home varies widely depending on where you live in the United States, ranging from about $250,000 in Arkansas to the high $300,000s in the northeast and Florida and just over $400,000 in places like California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Those numbers are higher than they were last year, when Home Advisor put the average cost to build a house in the U.S. at $293,542. They also don’t include the cost of land. Anecdotally, we’re hearing estimates of $450 to $550 per square foot to build a new home.

So, what’s been driving up the cost of building a house? Lots of factors, including material shortages, construction worker shortages, and increased gas prices, which means it costs more to move materials from point A to point B, according to Josh Rudin, who has been in the construction industry for more than 20 years and is the owner of ASAP Restoration LLC in Arizona. Due to a nationwide shortage of housing units, there’s a building boom going on, and it has reduced the supply of everything from materials to labor.

But building a new home can also come with some savings, especially when you consider that the median home price of existing homes across the U.S. is $354,179, according to Zillow’s latest figures. “Newer homes offer several advantages such as lower operating costs (particularly lower utility and maintenance costs) that affect the total cost of owning a home,” Paul Emrath, vice president of surveys and housing policy research for The National Association of Home Builders, explains. “The lower operating costs mean that a home buyer can pay 36 percent more for a new home and achieve the same first-year cost compared to buying a home built before 1960.”

However, when you build your own home, every design decision can be one you love—not something you settle for. You get to control the costs of the finishes down to the outlet covers and paint formulas used, so that your budget goes toward things that matter to you. You get to choose where to splurge and where to save. Of course, you can do this with a renovation too, but it’s much easier and less expensive when you start with a blank slate.

Below, we’ve outlined many of the primary budget categories, along with the pesky little things that cost more than you might expect. Unfortunately, a dumpster is a separate line item.

how much does it cost to build a house

be tkBe

Construction Costs

We priced out all the pieces of a new house—including some sneaky ones you might not have considered, like clearing trees to make way for it and getting hooked up to electricity.

House Plans

Unless you’re drafting the architectural plans yourself, you’re going to need to commission or buy a house plan. Based on our online browsing, stock plans cost a few hundred dollars up to around $1,200—much less than custom plans, which require you to hire an architect, who may charge a fee for the project or per square foot.

Land and Site Prep

Home Advisor didn’t factor this expense in, but it’s nonnegotiable. The cost will vary based on where you live, but on average people spend $20,000 to $200,000 on land. A site like landsearch.com shows the average price per acre, broken down by state, with the range going from about $5,000 per acre in Nebraska to roughly $75,000 per acre in Hawaii. You may need to clear trees to make way for your house, which would entail renting equipment yourself or hiring someone to do it for you.

It’s also important to consider whether the lot is finished (hooked up to the electrical grid, plumbing, and water lines) or unfinished (a blank plot with no permitting or existing hookups). If you’re working on an unfinished lot, you have to request access to municipal systems. Depending on how far you live from the closest lines, electrical grid installation costs $1,000 to $30,000—a wide range. If you opt for solar panels, those will be installed at the end of the building process, and a starter set of new solar panels will run you around $20,000. However, you could qualify for a 30 percent federal solar tax credit, netting you some savings. Water and sewage hookups cost $550 to $5,000.

Contractor Fees

Consider a general contractor your project manager. If you don’t have home-building experience, you’ll probably want one. They typically charge on a per-project basis, and you can expect to pay your contractor about 10 percent of your total budget. That doesn’t include what you’ll owe their crew or subcontractors. If you’re working with an architect or interior designer, they’ll charge their own fees as well. Alternatively, you could choose to work with a design-build shop, which offers all the services under the same roof and may streamline the process.

how much does it cost to build a home

Cavan Images

Foundation

Pouring a concrete foundation (aka slab) costs between $5,000 and $40,000, depending on your home’s square footage. An average size home’s foundation costs around $10,000. You can expect prices between $5 and $12 per square foot.

Systems

Electrical, plumbing, and heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are three of the biggest line items in your construction budget. Expect to spend around $25,000 for electrical, $11,000 for plumbing, and between $5,000 and $15,000 for HVAC.

Framing

The expense of framing depends on how large and how many stories your dream home is. For a 1,000-square-foot home, the average framing cost is between $7,000 and $16,000, or $7 to $16 per square foot. That goes up if you have multiple stories or a large garage.

Raw Materials

This is by far the most expensive part of the building process for most people. Materials, from lumber to shingles, make up around 50 percent of your total budget.

Lumber

Lumber makes up the majority of your raw materials budget. The nationwide average for lumber costs in 2023 was $25,000 to $65,000, according to Home Advisor, but lumber costs are actually coming down in prices in 2024, so you may be able to save here.

Trusses

Trusses are the wood beams that support your roof. Roof trusses in 2024 on average cost between $7,500 and $35,000, according to Angi.

Insulation

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer—and your energy bills down all year. You can choose from a number of options, according to Insulation Guides. Batting is the easiest to DIY, radiant barriers are good at reflecting heat, and spray foam is ideal for insulating an already finished area. Blanket rolls of insulation will run you from $0.10 to $1 per square foot, whereas spray foam insulation costs approximately $1.50 to $3.80 per square foot.

Drywall

A whole home’s worth of drywall costs $5,000 to $30,000 on average for a larger or multistory house. There are actually six common types of drywall, not just one that fits all. Fireproof, soundproof, and mold-resistant drywall costs slightly more than traditional whiteboard drywall due to its specialized construction. There’s also plasterboard (the ideal base for plaster or lime wash thanks to its highly absorbent materials), and VOC-absorbing drywall, which captures and traps chemicals and other VOCs (like those found in some paints).

Exterior

Whether you opt for brick, wood, composite, vinyl, stone, or stucco, the exterior material you choose reflects your personality and your neighborhood and can also protect your home from severe weather. While the total finishing cost has a national average of $6,000 to $100,000 (a very wide range), it hinges on the material you choose. Vinyl and wood are the least expensive materials, while brick and stone will drive up your project costs.

Veneers of these materials can net you some savings. For instance, solid brick is $9 to $20 per square foot to install, but the veneer is $5 to $12 per square foot, according to home services company Modernize. According to Today’s Homeowner, stone veneer is the most expensive at $20 to $50 per square foot, while vinyl siding sits at the other end of the spectrum at $1 to $8 per square foot. Stucco and brick veneer are both in the middle with a price range of $3 to $6 and $5 to $20 per square foot, respectively.

The siding you choose can help you save on your energy bills. See the “R” value (the R stands for resistance to heat flow) to determine energy efficiency.

It’s important to consider the ongoing maintenance costs of your home’s exterior too. Brick and composite siding require little to no maintenance, while stucco and wood siding require regular painting and upkeep.

Roofing and Gutters

Roofing and gutter installation will run new homebuilders around $10,000 to $14,000 depending on the size, material, and slope. A standard shingled roof costs less than cedar or ceramic tile. Metal gutters cost more than plastic, but they’re more durable in heavy storms and ice.

how much does it cost to build a home

Victoria Pearson

Finishings

You can save some money with your aesthetic choices. You might be surprised how big a price difference there is between types of toilets, for instance.

Windows and Doors

Expect to spend $7,000 to $12,000 on windows and doors for your new home. Storm windows and storm doors cost more—an average of $200 per window and between $100 and $450 for a storm door. Certain types of windows, like double-hung, bay, and custom windows are much more expensive. You can also choose triple-paned ultra-insulated windows, which can save you money on your utility bills but cost more upfront than standard double-paned windows.

Plumbing Fixtures and Lighting

Pumping fixtures and lighting range in price from $2,000 to $12,000. This range depends on how many bathrooms your home has as well as how many installed electrical fixtures (as opposed to plug-in lamps and sconces) you plan to have. This range includes toilets, showers, and bathtubs but not custom lighting pieces.

Cabinetry and Counters

You could spend as little as $2,000 or as much as $30,000 (or more). Your cabinetry and countertops spend is highly dependent on whether you opt for big-box products (like an IKEA kitchen) or custom cabinetry and counters. Granite or soapstone counters cost less than marble, one of the most expensive materials, or you could choose zero-maintenance quartz, which can run $100 to $200 per square foot installed.

Flooring and Tile

This is another area where you can curb costs or spend on premium materials. The number of options—vinyl, linoleum, hardwood, tile, custom tile, stone, and more—explains why the average cost of flooring ranges so widely, from $10,500 to $35,000. Vinyl and laminate cost the least, while real hardwood and custom tile cost the most.

drawing tom weston of mcintyre capron associates

TREVOR DIXON PHOTOGRAPHY

Paint

One of the easiest steps to DIY (and overlook), paint is an easy place to save. If you opt for professional painters, a whole home interior will cost between $4,000 and $11,000 on average, depending on the size of your home. Exterior paint costs slightly less, with a range of $2,000 to $8,000.

Appliances

The basics include a dishwasher, range, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer. You might want multiple fridges or laundry sets, or mini versions in convenient areas. A whole-home appliance package runs $3,000 to $15,000 on average for off-the-shelf appliances. Custom pieces can cost five (or even six) figures each. You can get more than 50 percent off appliances by shopping at scratch-and-dent stores.

Something to keep in mind: It’s worth splurging on some of these categories when you build the home. “Appliances, cabinets, countertops and flooring are big-ticket items that are harder to improve upon after moving into a new construction home,” Lee Crowder, the national director of design and model experience at Taylor Morrison, a national homebuilder and developer, says. For example, appliances can affect how your kitchen is configured, so it’s much easier and cost efficient to include what you want long term from the start.

Landscaping

You can move in without landscaping, so many homebuilders forget to allot funds for it. But it’s a necessary finishing touch, not just for beauty but to keep your lot from turning into a mud pit every time it rains. The national average ranges from $3,300 to $13,200 for outdoor spaces, according to Lawn Love. If you’re planning on putting in a swimming pool or above-ground pool, outdoor kitchen, or extensive decking, it can skyrocket quickly.

Irrigation

Whether you’re in need of a sprinkler system for your lawn or a watering system for your vegetable garden, in-ground irrigation is a common home-building expense. The national average is between $2,400 and $4,200, including equipment and labor.

Paving

Many parts of the country actually require paved walkways and driveways. For a standard asphalt driveway, expect to spend $7 to $13 per square foot. However, a gravel driveway is much cheaper at $1 to $3 per square foot, and pavers are much more expensive at $10 to $30 per square foot.

how much does it cost to build a house

Amy Neunsinger

Generators

Installing a whole home generator right off the bat can be a great way to make sure you’re prepared for anything and your new home is protected in event of a power outage or serious weather event. The average all-in cost for a home generator system is between $1,471 and $8,340, with homeowners spending $4,906 on average.

Hidden Costs

Unfortunately, you need to factor these not-so-little expenses into your home-building budget.

City Permits

Before you break ground, you’ll have to present your plans and request a building permit from your municipality. There’s an application fee, which varies from one city and state to the next, and it’s usually a set cost per finished value. From there, the permit will cost between $1,200 and $2,000, also depending on your area.

Temporary Electrical

To power construction tools, floodlights, and other equipment, you’ll need a temporary power source. It costs around $1,000 for an electrician to come out and install the utility pole and hook it up. Usage costs vary, but $1,200 to $2,850 is an average total.

Portable Toilets

Inexpensive and necessary, a portable toilet costs $75 to $100 per month, including a weekly maintenance visit.

Dumpsters

Yes, this one really stinks. The national average for renting a 10-yard dumpster is around $500 per week. They’re required for most construction sites. Be sure to account for potential building delays and schedule extra emptying days during construction.

If you have a smaller-scale project, though, you might be able to get away with a dumpster bag that can hold up to 3,300 pounds and costs under $30.

Temporary Lodgings

Whether your lease is up or you’ve already sold your previous home, you probably need to factor rent into your building budget. You’ll need somewhere to live while construction is going on. Depending on your area, a rental home or apartment will run you at least $1,987 per month, thanks to soaring rents nationwide. Plus, most places charge extra for month-to-month leases.

how much does it cost to build a house

Spacecrafting Photography

Money Savers

Building a home from the ground up is no small feat. Save money in both the short term, and long term, with this expert advice.

Build Up Instead of Out

A simple way to cut down on land costs is to consider vertical square footage rather than horizontal square footage. A smaller lot typically costs less than a larger one in a similar location, depending on the topography. You could build a two-story home with the same square footage as your one-story dream home and invest that money elsewhere.

Negotiate

There’s always room on the table for negotiations, and home building costs are no different, Rudin says. “It may be that your builder has an excess supply of flooring that no one else wanted, and can give it to you for half off,” he says. Or, if you’re flexible on timing, you might be able to get some discounts.

Consider Building Smaller

Oftentimes, homes have excess square footage in their floor plans that’s not used by homebuyers, Brian Juedes, vice president of product design at Taylor Morrison, says. “Many builders today are considering ways to build smaller and maximize space by removing any excess area,” he says.

DIY What You Can

While we recommend leaving structural tasks like pouring the foundation and installing the electrical wiring to professionals, there are several costly tasks you can DIY. Interior painting and landscaping take time and can be tedious, but they’re totally doable. Plus, you’ll have a fun conversation starter to share during your housewarming party.

Build a Forever Home

Rather than build the home you want now, you should be thinking about where you need to live in the future. If you plan to stay put forever, you can save money on future renovation costs by outfitting your home for accessibility now. Plus, this ensures that any elderly or disabled relatives and friends can visit and navigate your home with ease.

Could Building a House Save You Money in 2024?

Given that interest rates are high, once again reaching the 7 percent range, building or buying a new home in 2024 may actually be a way to save money. The reason? Builders often offer incentives on the purchase of new construction homes, says Maureen McDermut, a realtor with Sotheby’s International in Montecito, California.

Examples of these types of incentives could include lower price points, discounted or free upgrades, covering your homeowners association bills for the year, interest rate buydowns, and cash to put toward your closing costs.

Builders offer these types of perks to help them sell off some of their inventory to buyers who would otherwise be waiting for interest rates to drop.

“In the current real estate market, with interest rates higher than they have been in quite some time, shopping for a new build could be a good idea for buyers looking to get a deal,” McDermut says.


Working on a design project? Let us help!


Follow House Beautiful on Instagram and TikTok.

Headshot of Kate McGregor

Kate McGregor is House Beautiful’s SEO Editor, writing in-depth , design inspiration stories while overseeing gardening content through routine . With over five years in the shelter industry creating content for brands like Domino, Real Simple, and Architectural Digest’s Clever, Kate has developed a passion for uncovering the personal stories that often lie behind the inspiration for people’s spaces. She previously worked as the assistant market editor at ELLE Decor, where she identified top products and brands in the industry as well as interviewed emerging designers about their thoughts on the latest . Kate holds a bachelor’s degree from Belmont University. When not researching the specificities of begonia plant care, you can find Kate scouring vintage markets for the ideal wrought-iron chair, knitting yet another cardigan, or reading historical nonfiction.