How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (2023)

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It can be a rocky road to your dream home. You've got to navigate the ups and downs of the real estate market, keep your eyes peeled for new listings, zoom from one prospect to the next, evade escalating bids and all-cash offers, and—after all that—compromise on your list of must-haves. At some point, you have to wonder if the more practical route is to build your own house from scratch. It has to be cheaper and less stressful, right? How much does it cost to build a house in total?

According to Home Advisor, the average cost to build a house in 2023 was $293,542, which is just over half the median U.S. home sale price in 2022: approximately $450,000. However, the cost of building a home is wildly subjective, and Home Advisor says that average can range from $108,715 to $462,529—with variability from state to state.

We wanted more detail, so we reached out Paul Emrath, vice president of surveys and housing policy research for The National Association of Home Builders. He agreed in general, but with a caveat for newly built homes on the higher end. "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," he says. "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."

More From House Beautiful

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (1)

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 Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (2)

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 $1,000—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.

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. 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.

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (3)


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.


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 $1,500 and $13,000 for HVAC.


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 makes up the majority of your raw materials budget. The nationwide average for lumber costs is $25,000 to $65,000, according to Home Advisor.


Trusses are the wood beams that support your roof. A new set of roof trusses for a 2,000-square-foot house costs an average of $7,500 to $12,000, according to This Old House.


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.


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).


Whether you opt for brick, wood, composite, vinyl, stone, or stucco, the exterior material you choose reflects your personality and your neighborhood. 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. 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.

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 $12,000 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 Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (4)


This is an area where 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 $5,000 to $10,000 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. 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 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 or quartz. The options are practically endless.

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 $10,000 to $35,000. Vinyl and laminate cost the least, while real hardwood and custom tile cost the most.

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (5)


One of the easiest steps to DIY (and overlook), paint is an easy to 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.


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 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 is around $7,600 for outdoor spaces. If you’re planning on a pool, outdoor kitchen, or extensive decking, that can skyrocket quickly.


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.


Many parts of the country require paved walkways and driveways. For a standard asphalt driveway, expect to spend $7 to $13 per square foot. However, gravel 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 Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (6)

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.


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.

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 $1,000 per month, thanks to soaring rents nationwide.

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (7)

Money Savers

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.

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.

How Much Does It Actually Cost to Build a Home From Scratch? (8)

Kate McGregor

Kate McGregor is House Beautiful’s SEO Editor. She has covered everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, for publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, and Architectural Digest’s Clever.


Does it cost more to build a house from scratch? ›

It's the opposite, in fact: In general, building a new home tends to cost more than buying an existing one. According to a 2022 report from HomeAdvisor, builders can expect to spend about 5 percent to 10 percent more per square foot than buyers.

How much does it cost to build a modern house from scratch? ›

Square footage impacts cost

In July 2022, new home construction usually cost around $150 per square foot, with luxury and custom options costing $500 or more per square foot. The average new-construction home size is between 2,200 square feet, and the total average construction cost is $281,000.

How much does it cost to build a house from scratch in America? ›

While the average cost to build a house was $285,956 in 2022, most homeowners spend $111,892 – $460,414 to build their homes. Even though you can get a general idea of what you may pay, it's important to keep in mind that there are numerous factors that will impact the cost to build.

What is the most expensive part of building your own home? ›

Perhaps the most expensive part when it comes to building a home is the framing, which consists of wooden beams that make up the home's skeleton.

Is it currently cheaper to build or buy? ›

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house? As a rule of thumb, it's cheaper to buy a house than to build one. Building a new home costs $34,000 more, on average, than purchasing an existing home. The median cost of new construction was $449,000 in May 2022.

Is it cheaper to buy or build? ›

It's normally cheaper to buy an existing house, mainly because construction is expensive, especially since labor and material costs have increased with inflation.

What is the cheapest type of house to build? ›

The cheapest way to build a home is to design a simple box. Sticking to a square or rectangular floor plan makes the building and design simple. Generally speaking, building up is cheaper than building a sprawling one-story home, so you may want to consider planning for a multiple-story home if you need more space.

How can I save money to build a house? ›

Value Engineering
  1. Reducing Square Footage. One way to dramatically reduce costs is to just reduce the square footage of the entire home. ...
  2. Choosing a Stock Design. ...
  3. Reducing Lineal Feet of Logs. ...
  4. Opt for a Simple Roof System. ...
  5. Use Drywall on Interior. ...
  6. More Modest Kitchen. ...
  7. Don't Take a Bath on Your Bath. ...
  8. Avoid Change Orders.

How long does it take to build a home? ›

On average it can take approximately 6 months to complete the build of a house. However, it can be as little as 4 months or potentially more than 12 months. For a pre-designed house, you are looking at roughly 4-6 months, while custom designs can take longer at an expected 10-16 months.

What states are the cheapest to build a house in? ›

Top 10 Cheapest States to Build a House
  • Mississippi. Mississippi ranks at the lowest cost of living in the entirety of the United States. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • Alabama. ...
  • Oklahoma. ...
  • Kansas. ...
  • Iowa. ...
  • Ohio. ...
  • Georgia.
Mar 13, 2023

What is the cheapest house to build in us? ›

Ranch Homes

A home with a simple and concise layout is the cheapest type of house to build. Ranch homes are typically single-story structures with attached garages. They're easy to find construction plans for and highly customizable, so you can find a home that fits your needs and budget.

How much US dollars did it cost to build the Burj Khalifa? ›

Total construction costs for the Burj Khalifa were reported to amount to $1.5 billion. Though it did cost a large sum, the Burj Khalifa is not the most expensive building in the world; that title goes to Rawabi Abraj Al-Bait Tower in Saudi Arabia, which cost $15 billion.

What is the most expensive trade when building a house? ›

The Framing

A home's framing is its skeleton. Because so much material and skilled labor is required, this is an incredibly expensive part of building a home. While framing may not be as expensive as the foundation or lot, it is typically more costly than other items.

What makes a house more expensive to build? ›

Building a house adds costs for land purchase, the permitting process, and multiple inspections. The farther your plan strays from a standard model, the more costly it will be. Buildable lots in urban areas can be prohibitively expensive.

Is $100,000 enough to build a house? ›

The straight answer is yes; building a modern home for 100K or less is possible. However, you will have to be very conscious while designing your home's interior. Similarly, you also must opt for durable yet cost-effective add-ons.

What are the disadvantages of building a house? ›

Cons of Building a House
  • Longer timeline: While an existing home is often move-in ready, a new build can take several months to complete. ...
  • Limited flexibility in price negotiation: While you can save money if you build your own home, you will not have as much negotiation in the price.
Feb 3, 2020

What is the cheapest type of house to build per square foot? ›

Cheapest Types of Homes to Build
  1. Prefabricated Homes. Prefab homes are some of the cheapest type of houses to build per square foot. ...
  2. Shipping Container Home. The second cheapest type of house to build in 2023 is a shipping container home. ...
  3. Tiny House. ...
  4. Off-Grid Homes. ...
  5. Ranch-Style House.
Apr 17, 2023

Is it smarter to build or buy a house? ›

In general, you'll likely find it cheaper overall to buy an existing home, but that also depends on the market. A home loan is less risky than a land loan, and typically comes with a lower down payment and better interest rate.

What is the simplest cheapest house to build? ›

Tiny home. A tiny home may be the cheapest house to build. Generally, a tiny home is a living structure under 600 square feet, with the average size for a tiny house only 225 square feet, according to a survey.

What is the most efficient shape for a house? ›

When it comes to the most efficient building shape, uncomplicated dome and cube structures retain the most heat. This is because the air can circulate more efficiently around a dome whilst a cube has the smallest surface area to floor area ratio, so it loses minimal amounts of heat.

What should you not skimp on when building a house? ›

Where Not to Cut Costs When Building a New Home
  • Windows. You don't have to break the bank on the windows for your home, but you definitely don't want to cheap out on them either. ...
  • HVAC System. Your HVAC system is another great place to throw money at when building your new home. ...
  • Appliances. ...
  • Roof. ...
  • Insulation.
Aug 21, 2019

Will construction materials go down in 2023? ›

In February 2023, most pundits believe the construction materials cost will continue to fluctuate. The consensus is that the cost of most materials will not return to pre-pandemic levels this year, though they should come down or at least not increase as dramatically as they have been.

How much should I save before building a house? ›

The bank usually wants you to make a down payment of 20% of either: the cost to build. or. the appraised value.

Is it cheaper to build a 1 or 2 story house? ›

It is more cost-effective to build a two story home than a one story home. Typically, it costs less per square foot to construct because two story home plans offer smaller blueprints.

What takes the longest when building a house? ›

01 Jan Which Homeowner Supplies Take the Longest during Construction?
  • Cabinets. Whether supplied by a manufacturer or custom built – typically take 6-10 weeks from the time an order is placed to delivery. ...
  • Counter tops. Counter tops cannot be templated (measured) until after base cabinets are installed. ...
  • Shower Doors.
Jan 1, 2023

How long to frame a house after slab? ›

Depending on the circumstances, the average build time to frame a house is anywhere from one week to several months to complete the job. By understanding how long it typically takes to frame a house, you can better plan for your project and avoid unnecessary delays.

Where is the cheapest state to live? ›

Take a look at the 10 cheapest states to live in for 2022.
  1. Mississippi. Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. ...
  2. Kansas. ...
  3. Alabama. ...
  4. Oklahoma. ...
  5. Georgia. ...
  6. Tennessee. ...
  7. Missouri. ...
  8. Iowa.
Mar 31, 2023

What is the most expensive state to live in 2023? ›

Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in, with a cost of living index of 184. Massachusetts is ranked second, with a cost of living index of 149.7, followed by California at 137.6, and New York at 134.5.

What state has the best cost of living? ›

States With Lowest Cost of Living

Mississippi is the state with the lowest cost of living in the US, with a cost of living index of 85. This means that the cost of living in Mississippi is 15% lower than the national average. The state has a low cost of housing, groceries, and utilities.

What city has the cheapest houses in us? ›

1. Detroit, Michigan
Median salary$36,000
Median home listing price in 2020$59,000
Median real estate taxes$1,268
Average state income tax4.25%
Monthly utilities$290
1 more row
6 days ago

What state has the cheapest houses per square foot? ›

West Virginia is the cheapest state to buy a house in as it has the lowest median list prices for homes as well as the cheapest sales price per square foot. Property taxes in the state are also some of the lowest in America.

Who lives on the top floor of Burj Khalifa? ›

Top Floor No.

Floors 1-8 floors are occupied by the Armani Hotel. Also, 9-16 floors are occupied by them for Armani Residences. Floors 17-18, 40-42, 73-75, 109-110, 136-138, 155 and 160-163 are utilized for mechanical operation. Floors 19–37, 44–72, and 77–108 are utilized for residential purposes.

What is the most expensive building in the world? ›

Answer: The most expensive building in the world as of 2022 is the Great Mosque at Mecca. Question: Is Antilia expensive than Burj Khalifa? Answer: It is not known whether Antilia is costlier than Burj Khalifa.

How much does it cost to stay in the Burj Khalifa per night? ›

Burj Al-Arab rooms can cost anywhere between INR 99,046 to INR 2,07,281 per night depending on the category of the room and the amenities and services you choose.

What is the hardest trade in construction? ›

You're also doing it from at least 15-20 feet above the ground. This is why roofers tend to have the most accidents and annual fatalities among all construction fields. It's also why contractors themselves label it the hardest job.

What is the most expensive construction contract? ›

7 of the world's most expensive construction projects
  • King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia - US$100 billion.
  • Dubailand, Dubai - US$64 billion. ...
  • Kashagan Field, Khazakstan - US$50 billion. ...
  • Hinkley Point C, UK - US$31 billion. ...
  • Kansai International Airport, Japan – US$20 billion. ...
Feb 22, 2023

What is the most expensive construction material? ›

Cement is a popular construction material because it is the most important ingredient of concrete. Cement is mixed with water and other aggregates to form a paste that dries to form concrete. Cement is one of the most expensive construction materials.

Is a house worth more after its built? ›

Although you may pay for their charm and individuality, these old homes still cost significantly less upfront than their newer counterparts. The price of a newly built home is often higher than that of an older home by a staggering 30% or more.

Is a basement more expensive than a second story? ›

That depends on market and current material prices

Check with your builder and they can advise you on the pros, cons, and cost of each. If it's a brand-new build, building a basement can be less expensive than building a second story, depending on the specific location and other factors.

What is the most expensive part of building a house? ›

Perhaps the most expensive part when it comes to building a home is the framing, which consists of wooden beams that make up the home's skeleton.

Can I afford a 500k house on 100K salary? ›

A 100K salary means you can afford a $350,000 to $500,000 house, assuming you stick with the 28% rule that most experts recommend.

How big of a house can you build with $100000? ›

1,000 square foot

What is the most expensive part of a build? ›

The Framing

A home's framing is its skeleton. Because so much material and skilled labor is required, this is an incredibly expensive part of building a home. While framing may not be as expensive as the foundation or lot, it is typically more costly than other items.

What is the cheapest state to build a house in? ›

Top 10 Cheapest States to Build a House
  • Mississippi. Mississippi ranks at the lowest cost of living in the entirety of the United States. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • Alabama. ...
  • Oklahoma. ...
  • Kansas. ...
  • Iowa. ...
  • Ohio. ...
  • Georgia.
Mar 13, 2023


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