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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in 2023?

The average cost to build a house is influenced by the location, quality of the materials you use, cost of labor, and several other factors.

By Kim Porter

Written by

Kim Porter


Kim Porter is an expert in credit, mortgages, student loans, and debt management. She has been featured in U.S. News & World Report,, Bankrate, Credit Karma, and more.

Edited by Reina Marszalek

Written by

Reina Marszalek

Senior editor

Reina is a senior mortgage editor at Credible and Fox Money.

Updated October 3, 2023

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances.

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Finding the perfect house can be difficult, especially when inventory is tight. If the homes in your intended area are too big, too small, or not quite right, you might consider building a house from scratch.

While there’s more work involved, this could be a cheaper option that allows you to customize your home.

Here’s what to know about the costs involved in building a house:

What’s the average cost of building a house?

A new home costs about $150 per square foot to build, according to HomeAdvisor, but the total footprint of the property will determine the final cost.

Building costs also vary by location and the style of the home. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of labor, building materials, and interior finishes.

All of these factors can drive the per-square-foot cost up to $400 or more in expensive cities like New York and San Francisco.

The median price of a new construction home was $430,300 in August 2023, while the median size of a new home was 2,383 square feet in 2022. Taking these figures into account, $180 is a realistic cost per square foot.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house?

Depending on the size of your home and the customization you need, it could be cheaper to buy an existing home. Here’s a comparison of median prices for new and existing homes as well as the average cost to build a home:

  • Building a home: $298,962
  • Buying a new home: $430,300
  • Buying an existing home: $396,100

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The factors behind your homebuilding costs

The cost of building a new home varies, based on a number of factors. If you’re thinking about taking this route, consider the following factors. The tables below use data sourced from HomeAdvisor unless otherwise noted.

Square footage

The size of your new home will greatly influence the cost. Generally, a larger home costs more to build because you’re using more materials. The median size of a new single-family home as of 2022 was 2,383 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here’s what you might pay to build a home assuming a $100 to $200 cost per square foot:

Square footage
Average price range
$100,000 to $200,000
$$150,000 to $300,000
$200,000 to $400,000
$250,000 to $500,000
$300,000 to $600,000

Learn More: How to Buy a New Construction Home


Location impacts the price of construction in a few ways. The same house in one state might cost twice as much to build as it would in another because of variations in the cost of labor, materials, regulations, and permit requirements.

Plus, the actual site of the home — with its unique size, shape, soil, and climate — will also impact the cost. For instance, steep slopes or poor soil will typically require more engineering and foundation work.

Here is a look at what it can cost to build a home in certain U.S. cities. Bear in mind that the actual price will vary depending on the specifics of the home and other details but this will give you a good idea. 

Average price range*
Austin, Texas
$300,00 to $450,000
$$200,000 to $500,000
Los Angeles
$400,000 to $480,000
New York City
$$337,000 to $450,000
Washington, D.C.
$262,000 to $390,000

*Price range data sourced from Houzeo, HomeLight, and UpNest.


Labor costs account for about 40% of the homebuilding budget. These labor costs vary with each region, the size and complexity of the house, and your general contractor’s buying power. Larger homes that require more customization cost more than smaller homes that are built using prefabricated pieces.

Some of the professionals who you may hire include:

Labor professional
Average price range*
Construction manager
$7,500 to $67,500 total
$50 to $130 per hour
$5,727 to $12,418 total
$45 to $150 per hour
Concrete contractor
$1,800 to $6,000 total
$7 to $16 per square foot

*Price range data sourced from Angi, Total Mortgage, Bob Vila, HomeGuide, and HomeAdvisor.


The materials used to build your home may take about 60% of your total budget. But the cost is heavily influenced by the quality of the material you choose. When you’re in the planning stages, you can work with the builder to choose materials that fit within your budget. They’ll give you an estimate based on your designs.

Here’s a cost breakdown of some of the basic materials your builder will need to buy:

Average price range*
$25,000 to $65,000 total
$$4 to $8 per square foot
$10 per sheet
$1 to $5 per square foot
$2 to $15 per square foot

*Price range data sourced from Total Mortgage.

Special features

If you’re looking to build a luxury or custom home, the price per square foot typically increases to $200 to $500 per square foot. But you can add one or two special features — such as a swimming pool, heated floors, higher ceilings, or a basement — to better fit your budget.

Amenities like these can help you enjoy your new home, but they’ll increase your budget accordingly. Here’s the price tag on a few popular features:

Special feature
Average price range*
Swimming pool
$39,000 to $70,000
Heated floors
$200 to $11,000
Basement (finished)
$15,000 to $75,000 total
Outdoor deck
$3,920 to $10,540

*Price range data sourced from Angi, HomeGuide, and Lawn Love.

Find Out: How To Buy a House: Step-by-Step Guide 

Breakdown of homebuilding costs

The cost of building a house varies depending on where you’re building, the size of the home, the materials you use, and other factors, but the following cost breakdown should give you an idea of the price ranges you can expect:

Type of cost
Average price range*
Clearing land
$1,200 to $3,700
Paying for house plans
$2,000 to $10,000
Getting building permits
$500 to $2,000
Laying the foundation
$5,200 to $21,000
Framing the house
$14,000 to $32,000
Interior finishes
$50,000 to $150,000
Installing major systems
$17,000 to $72,000

Buying and clearing land: $1,200 to $3,700

Before you build a home, you’ll need to buy a plot of land. The average lot size is 17,218 square feet, or less than half an acre, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Depending on the size you choose and whether utilities and sewer lines are available, a piece of land will cost $16,809 per acre on average in the United States. That price will vary in lower and higher cost areas. Then, hiring people to clear your land for construction prep costs between $1,200 to $3,700.

Paying for floor plans: $2,000 to $10,000

Once you’ve bought your land, you’ll need to hire professionals to draw up floor plans for the house. You might pay about $2,000 to $10,000 for the plans, which you’ll hand to your builder. They’ll use the plans to give you a “cost to build” estimate.

Keep Reading: Best Time to Buy a Home

Getting building permits: $500 to $2,000

A building permit is a document that says you’ve received permission from your local government to begin the homebuilding process. Once the construction is complete, it will go through inspections before the permit can be approved and closed out.

Laying the foundation: $5,200 to $21,000

Laying a foundation involves digging space for the foundation, preparing the land, pouring the concrete, and getting it to set right. You might also need to perform some additional landscaping to address any potential issues with the foundation.

Framing the house: $14,000 to $32,000

After laying the foundation, your builder creates the frame, which is like the skeleton of the house. The type of frame you choose will greatly influence the price tag, which runs from $14,000 to $32,000.

The framer will take care of:

  • The home’s overall frame
  • Trusses and general metalwork
  • Sheathing and subfloor installation
  • Windows and door installation

Interior finishes: $50,000 to $150,000

The interior finishes basically turn your structure into a home. These include things like insulation, walls, flooring, interior doors, fixtures, cabinets, and countertops. The builder will also paint walls and hook up major appliances.

Installing major systems: $17,000 to $72,000

Major systems consist of your plumbing and HVAC systems. Once installed, your builder will connect these systems to the local utilities. Expect this to cost $17,000 to $72,000 depending on the size of the home, the type of systems you’re installing, and the quality of the materials.

How to calculate the cost of building a house

Homebuilders’ price estimates are based on expert knowledge and experience, and they factor in every aspect of the structure, systems, and finishes of a home. But you can get a ballpark figure for the cost of building your own home by using their prices as a starting point.

To estimate the cost of building a home, you’ll want to take the following steps:

  1. Determine the size, style, and location: Have a general idea of how big you want your home to be, the type of finishes you want, and where you’d like to build it.
  2. Shop local builders’ websites: To get an idea of what builders are charging for homes similar to yours, check out their websites and request quotes. Be sure to match features like garages, the number of roof angles, how many floors there are, the type of foundation, and the construction materials.
  3. Do the math: Average the sizes and prices of homes you like, and divide the average price by the average square footage. Use that price-per-square-foot figure as a guide when you’re browsing building plans.
  4. Research finishes and features: Look into the finishes and features that come with comparable homes, and make adjustments for your own preferences. Characteristics like builder-grade carpet versus hardwood flooring, and vinyl siding versus fiber cement siding, can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in otherwise identical homes.
  5. Calculate the cost of acquiring land: If you don’t already have a building lot, you’ll need to buy the land to build your home on. You can search listings on real estate portals like Redfin, or work with a local real estate agent.
  6. Factor in the cost of preparing the lot: Unless it’s already clear and has access to utilities, you’ll have to make some phone calls to determine the costs involved in completing that work.
  7. Don’t forget about permits and inspections: Builders’ prices often include required permits and inspections. If the comparable homes you researched didn’t include those, contact your local zoning office to find out what’s required and how much it costs.
  8. Add the cost of your blueprints: You’re going to need to hire a draftsperson to create a home blueprint or house plan. Costs vary widely according to the complexity of the design and whether you select off-the-shelf prints or opt for a custom home design.
  9. Leave room for overruns: Leave room in your budget for unexpected expenses and cost overruns.

What you can afford by budget

Building a new home is expensive, but you can control costs by building only as much home as you need, keeping the design simple, and resisting the temptation to go overboard on upgrades. Here’s what you can expect for various budget levels.

Under $200,000

At $187 per square foot, you can build a house of up to 1,069 square feet. That’s enough space for two bedrooms — three if they’re on the small side — and two baths. Homes this size make good starter homes, downsizes, or investment properties.

$200,000 to $299,000

A budget in this range will get you 1,069 to 1,599 square feet, depending on the options you choose. At the high end, you can expect three bedrooms, and perhaps four bedrooms or three bedrooms and a smaller home office. You might add a half-bath and a porch, patio, or deck as well.

$300,000 to $399,000

You can expect to get 1,604 to 2,134 square feet at this price range. You should be able to accommodate the most common home characteristics as well: at least three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, plus outdoor features.

If you want a more elaborate design or more bedrooms and baths, you might have to compromise on finishes to keep it within your budget.

$400,000 to $499,000

A budget in the $400,000 range should get you a nice home with anywhere from 2,139 to 2,668 square feet. This could include four bedrooms, three baths, higher-end finishes, and larger or more elaborate outdoor features, such as a covered porch instead of a bare-bones open deck.

$500,000 to $750,000

This is a high-end budget that will get you a premium home design with four to five bedrooms and perhaps a home office to boot, and at least three baths. You can likely afford 2,674 to 4,011 square feet.

Expect homes in this price range to come standard with more luxurious finishes, which means you might have to downgrade or simplify the design to stay in the lower range of the budget.

$750,000 and up

If you’re able to afford this budget, it will get you a house with at least 4,011 square feet, which is plenty of space for five to six bedrooms and three to four baths, plus a home office.

Again, the quality of finishes will be proportional to the value of the home, but think twice before you opt for a cheaper finish to save money, as this may reduce the home’s resale value.

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When to consider building a house

While building a home can get pricey, the ability to customize the space makes the cost worthwhile to some homebuyers. Consider these pros and cons if you’re thinking about building a home:

Pros of building a home
Cons of building a home
More customization options
More time-consuming because of all the decisions that have to be made
Less maintenance
May be more expensive than buying a pre-owned home
You can pick your preferred location
Acquiring the home could be more complicated

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Meet the expert:
Kim Porter

Kim Porter is an expert in credit, mortgages, student loans, and debt management. She has been featured in U.S. News & World Report,, Bankrate, Credit Karma, and more.