Can I Afford to Build a House? The Costs to Know

Can I Afford To Build A House? The Costs To Know

So you’ve been house hunting, looking for that perfect home with just the right amount of light and space, the right number of bedrooms for the current family that will also incorporate space for the family growth you’re expecting, and yet, you’re coming up empty.

If what’s on offer in the housing market seems miles away from what you want and need, why not consider building your own home. You get the exact home you want, and you may find it a better bargain than trying to find a house in today’s market. Also, you’ll have less to compromise on, and you’ll get a home that is unique to you and your needs.

The Cost of a Home

Home prices are rising everywhere. Utah is currently ranked number three in the US for annual appreciation. In the Salt Lake Metro area, home prices rose 15.9% over the past year, which looks to be a trend that will continue to grow. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average price for building a new home is $485,128. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the average cost for a single-family home that already exists is $408,800.

In most markets, houses are getting harder and harder to come by, with most homes staying on the market for no more than twenty days tops. Even if you find a house that checks some of your boxes, maybe the better option is to build your home. Knowing what is best for you and your family and the future of both is essential to the home building choice. Here are some thoughts on building a new, semi-custom home that will help you decide.

Building a Home

If you’ve already decided that the route you want to take is building a semi-custom home, contact Revere Homes. They have several floorplans that will surely fit your needs and dreams. Building a home is best when you work with an experienced builder who will listen and help guide you through the process. You’ll want to trust your future to a home builder that knows the area and can provide you with answers to all your question. If you’re building, contact Revere Homes.

Building a new home has some great benefits. Here are a few to chew on as you make your decision. And, here are some thoughts that can help you decide if building is better than buying for you; these are questions you need to consider before you build.


When building a new home from scratch, you’ll have the advantage of some serious customization choices. These will be choices in personalized details that fit your life and your specific tastes. You’re looking at from the ground up options that include floor plans to flooring and cabinets, lights, fixtures, even doorknobs, and paint colors. Building a home is a complete expression of you. That can be exciting because you know your home will be unique and special.

Instead of seeking a house that may come close to what you want, you can build a new home that has exactly what you want.

Low Maintenance

New homes are built to meet the most up-to-date building codes and have state-of-the-art technology. If you build a new home, you’re most likely not going to have to deal with significant repairs or outrageous maintenance issues for a while. So, you won’t worry about fixing a roof or faulty HVAC systems right away, which will mean saving money and giving you time to prepare for when or if those issues do arise. Additionally, many builders provide a limited warranty if something does break.

It’s New

Now, this may seem obvious but think about it. A house that has never been lived in, no pencil marks on the doorways, and no appliances have been used and worn. This is a blank slate on which you and your family can write their history fresh and new. Don’t underestimate the wonders of creating your life anew in a home built just for you.

The Cost Breakdown

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just say, building a house costs, and then we put a price tag here, and that never, ever changed? Yes, that would be lovely. Sadly, that’s just not possible. There is no one price for building a house. Several factors are involved, including location, material costs, labor costs, etc. Here we will look at some of those factors and give you a little more insight into what you could expect to pay for a newly built home.

The Average Cost

The average cost is, of course, a board term, and where you get your numbers to create an average can be tricky. Here are some reliable sources with trustworthy estimates.

  • $311,455, according to HomeAdvisor’s 2020 estimates
  • $296,652, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2020 study
  • $281,700 (median contract price), according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 data
  • Those are averages, and they really don’t tell you much. One of the factors that will affect the price of your custom-built home is location. Which state you’re building in and where in that state you’re building will be price factors.

According to HomeAdvisor, the typical price ranges depending on where you build is between $163,333 and $483,868. Now that is a significant gap. That holds true even if you’re calculating in terms of square footage; new construction can vary between 100 and 200 per square foot.

What does this mean? It means you need to do your research and talk to professional builders like Revere Homes before you decide to build a home.


As we said, a significant factor in the price of your custom-built home is going to be location. The US Census bureau breaks the country down into four major regions and breaks down the median cost of each region. Here are those home prices and the total costs when multiplied by the average size of a newly constructed home, set at 2,322 sq. ft.

  • Northeast: $155.68 per sq. ft. ($361,488.96)
  • South: $110.19 per sq. ft. ($255,861.18)
  • Midwest: $129.01 per sq. ft. ($299,561.22)
  • West: $158.73 per sq. ft. ($368,571.06)
  • Entire country: $126.15 per sq. ft. ($292,920.30)
  • Now, there is a lot of ground within each region, and prices will vary. If you’re living in Los Angeles, California, and you decide to build a new home, it will cost you more than if you were to build a home in Tacoma, Washington. Same region, different price.

Again it will come down to research. Wherever you live or wherever you’re looking to love, you’ll want to shop around and find builders that fit your budget but don’t scrimp on quality. If you’re building in Salt Lake, here are some areas that are great places to live.

The House Proper

When it comes to the actual house itself, there are some main costs you will want to consider these include foundation, framing, exterior work, and plumbing and electrical systems. And, you’ll want to factor in land and site work on your plot. Here are cost breakdowns from two different data sources, HomeAdvisor and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders).

Land and site work: building permits, impact fees, inspections, engineering/architectural planning

  • HomeAdvisor: $5,000-$38,000 (3-8% of total costs)
  • NAHB: $18,300 (6% of total costs)

Foundation: excavation, pouring concrete, retaining walls, backfill

  • HomeAdvisor: $16,600-$72,000 (10-15%)
  • NAHB: $34,900 (12%)

Framing: framing, roof frame, trusses, sheathing

  • HomeAdvisor: $16,600-$95,000 (10-20%)
  • NAHB: $51,500 (17.5%)

Major systems: HVAC, electricity, plumbing

  • HomeAdvisor: $17,000-$72,000 (10-15%)
  • NAHB: $43,700 (15%)

Finishes: Interior & Exterior

The basic frame of the house is up, and the major systems, plumbing, gas, and electrical have been installed, now you get to think about the interior and exterior finishes. Finishings can make up anywhere between 40-55% of total building costs so, keep an eye on them; they can add up quickly, and this is where most homeowners break their budget.

Exterior finishings include walls, roofing, doors, windows, and more. HomeAdvisor sets these costs between $20,000 and $95,000, and the NAHB puts the price tag at an average of $41,700. Again, you’ll see by these dramatically different figures; you’ll want to do a lot of research.

Interior finishes include structural components such as insulation and drywall and the aesthetic nuances of interior trims, paint, tile, lighting mirrors, and the like. Then there are the functional components like cabinets, appliances, countertops, plumbing fixtures, sinks, tubs, showers, and even a fireplace—a lot to consider. Depending on the brand you pick, the deals your builder may have with appliance makers costs will vary. HomeAdvisor clocks in at between $42,000 and $167,000, whereas NAHB puts the price at an average of $75,000.


Ah, land, they just don’t make it anymore. The cost of the plot of land you’ll be building your house on has not been included in any of the figures we’ve presented so far. NAHB sets the price of land at about $90,000 for 22,000 sq. ft of land; that’s almost half an acre. Bear in mind that if the land is unfinished and lacks sewer and electricity connections, this will add to your home building price tag.

If you own a piece of land on which you’re planning to build, that’s great; however, you’re probably still going to need to make some improvements on it before and after your home is built. Landscaping, outdoor structures like sheds, fountains, stone walls, trees, shrubs, and walks and driveways average about $20,000 to the final price tag. If you’re looking for real estate in Utah, here are a few tips on where to look and what to look for in the area.

Revere Homes Builds Beautifully

No matter how you slice it build, or buy a new home is a significant expense. If you’re still deciding which is best for you, take a look at this article for more information about both buying and building a home in Utah.

Take the time needed and talk to experts, friends, family anyone you know who has recently bought or built a new home. This is a big decision, and you don’t want to have regrets. Nothing ruins the joy of finding or building a new home like having regrets because you didn’t take the time, do the research or talk to people who have experience in this area.

Revere Homes has the experience and expertise to help you make this choice. Talk to home-building professionals before you start on this journey. Either one, build or buy, Revere Homes has all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision and no regrets.

Other Blog Posts

follow us