Understanding the Cost of Materials to Build a House
There are many components that make up the average cost to build a house, including labor costs, material costs, professional costs, as well as other fees, and building permits. Whether you're trying to save money by building your own home or want to get a clear idea of all these prices, it's vital to understand how much you're likely to have to spend on building materials. We give a full cost breakdown of the building materials you'll need to build a standard single-family home.
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Total average cost of building a house
Before we look at the specific building material components of building a new home, it's important to understand the current total cost to build a house nationwide. Currently, it costs between $100 - $400 per square foot to build a house, including materials and labor, but not including land costs. Generally, around 50% of those costs are for materials, and the other 50% is labor, construction equipment, professional services, permits, and other additional fees.
Factors affecting the cost to build
When it comes to building a house there are many components, so giving a per square foot cost is often not very accurate. These elements all contribute greatly to the building costs.
The location will play a big part in the average cost of building your dream home with many different elements coming into play:
- Land costs differ hugely by location, whether that's the region of the country, the state, and whether you are building in a city or the countryside. All these elements can mean land costs a few thousand dollars all the way to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Weather and climate play into the cost of building a home, as in a rainy area there are likely to be a lot of delays laying the foundation and putting up the framing if you get bad weather. All these delays add to the overall cost.
- Labor costs can also vary by region and by the time of year. In peak construction season in your specific area, labor will be harder to come by and so, more expensive.
- Materials costs also vary regionally and by season and demand.
Style and standard of house
The style of house you choose for your dream home will play a big role in both the material cost and labor cost, as some materials and construction techniques are more costly and time-intensive than others. If you are building a very specific custom home you will probably need to pay a lot extra for specialist materials and well-trained experts.
Even if you choose a standard new build house from major home builders you will have various options from standard finishes, all the way through to luxury finishes, all of which will have an impact on the total home costs.
Size of house
The size of your new home will have a major effect on the build cost as for larger homes you require more land, more materials, and a longer construction time. Whether you choose a one or two-story house will also alter the construction costs per square foot, as a two-story house requires less land, a smaller foundation, and a smaller roof, for the same square footage of living space as a one-story house.
To give you an idea of how the size of a house affects the cost to build here are some average costs of different sizes of homes with the price going from a lower-end build to a higher-end custom home.
- 1,000 square feet: $100,000 - $400,000
- 1,500 square feet: $150,000 - $600,000
- 2,000 square feet: $200,000 - $800,000
- 2,500 square feet: $250,000 - $1 million
- 3,000 square feet: $300,000 - $1.2 million
- 3,500 square feet: $350,000 - $1.4 million
- 4,000 square feet: $400,000 - $1.6 million
The average home size in the US in 2021 is between 2,000 - 2,500 square feet and these will generally be 3-4 bedroom homes. For people looking to save money, a 1,500 square foot house will generally have 2-3 bedrooms and you can go even smaller and build a tiny home under 1,000 square feet.