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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?
Learn about home building costs with these tips.

By Courtney Pittman

Looking to build your dream home but not sure about the costs? We’ve got you covered. The building process can be an exciting, yet intimidating, process — especially when it comes to money. We’ve put together a list of some key points to keep in mind when it comes to building costs.

Thinking about building? Get answers and advice from a plan expert.

What is the Average Cost to Build a House?

How much does it cost to build a house? Ah, the million-dollar question. According to the latest Cost of Construction Survey from NAHB, the average cost nationally to build an average-sized (2,561 sq. ft.) single family home in 2022 was around $392,241 (please note that this total number was rounded). This number does not include finished lot cost, profit to the builder, financing costs, etc.

This number includes the breakdown of most construction costs such as site work, foundations, framing, exterior/interior finishes, major systems rough-ins, and more. Please note these are average costs and the exact number can differ depending on location, home type, size, and other circumstances.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

Planning to build in the future? Check out our Cost-to-Build reports.

Zonda (parent company of Houseplans) says their “best estimate is that the cost to build a modest 1,600 sq. ft. house typically runs: $122.84 per sq ft, (or $196.5K), which excludes the cost and development of the land.
Costs can vary considerably on the parties involved (production builders may achieve scale on their costs), but generally:

Site Work/Foundation = $14.97 per sq. ft.

Inside/Interior = $25.98 per sq. ft.

Roofing = $4.8 per sq. ft.

Framing = $18.49 per sq. ft.

Mechanical/Other = $15.56 per sq. ft.

Electrical = $3.7 per sq. ft.

Exterior Walls/Systems = $23.32 per sq. ft.

Plus ~$16 per sq. ft. for various other overhead

Costs increase for higher trim levels: Expect to spend $160-180 per sq. ft. on a 2,400 sq. ft. home with improved amenities, ignoring the cost of the land.”

Which Costs to Consider When Building a Home

When determining the overall construction costs of building a new home, there are several factors to consider. Location, home size, materials, permits, and finishes all play a role. We’ve broken them down for you below.

Customization and Design

Choosing a house plan to build is one of the most exciting parts of the building process. Although this price can vary depending on the design, size, and style, you can order a ready-made plan anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 or more, depending on the plan.

What if you want to change something about your plan? Many minor modifications can be made by your builder. For other changes, the Houseplans modifications service can help. Keep in mind that because this is a service, not a ready-made design, modification costs can easily equal the price of the plan – which could cost $1,000 or more. Learn more about modifications here.

Exterior Finishes

The cost of exterior finishes can vary depending on your home style and materials. According to NAHB, the average cost is $46,108. Roofing, windows, doors, exterior wall finishes, and others are included in this price.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

Interior Finishes

This is the fun part. Once most of your home is complete, the next step is choosing your finishes and fixtures. Depending on your budget and aesthetic, NAHB says the average cost of interior finishes is $94,300, making it the most expensive category for construction costs.

This total cost includes insulation, drywall, trims, doors, mirrors, lighting, appliances, cabinets, flooring, plumbing, and much more. Cabinets and countertops are at the top of the list – costing $17,775 on average.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House? Site Work Costs

According to NAHB, building permit fees cost $8,292 on average (this number is based on an average home size of 2,561 sq. ft. in 2022). Here are some other site work costs to consider from NAHB:

Impact Fee: $5,208

Water and Sewage Fees Inspections: $5,800

Architecture, Engineering: $4,724

Other: $5,169

It is important to note that some areas require engineering, stamping/sealing, etc. to your plans. Be sure to always check with your local building authority as a first step so that you know what you’ll need.

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

Looking to build in the Lone Star State? Zonda estimates that it costs $122.6 per square foot to build a home in Texas.

Note: this value includes contractor margins and overhead, and an overall markup for the general contractor. Margins on land and other financing are not built into this number.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in North Carolina?

Zonda estimates that it costs about $119.9 per square foot to build a home in North Carolina.

Note: this value includes contractor margins and overhead, and an overall markup for the general contractor. Margins on land and other financing are not built into this number.

One-Story or Two-Story?

What’s cheaper to build – a one-story or a two-story house? We asked Matthew Clancy, Director of Sales at, his thoughts on the topic and he delivered some great points to consider.

“On average, it is probably cheaper to build a two-story home, but there are many factors that come into play. Your foundation, for example: if you are building over a basement, a single-story home will have more ground coverage, making that foundation much larger and costly than with a two-story."

"On the other hand, you may be pouring a concrete slab which won’t cost as much over the larger footprint as a basement. A two-story house can be more expensive in some cases, like if you are building out of ICF or block. In most of those builds, the main level may use concrete for the walls, but the upper level will call for wood/stick framing for structural purposes. That can drive the cost up versus a one-story concrete home that does not require stud walls upstairs. The factors you should consider are placement of your home, will two stories work better for the lot, or to maximize views? Will a two-story home still work for you ten, twenty years from now? Overall, what is more important to factor than cost, is your lifestyle,” he says.

Affordable Home Styles to Build

In the market for a budget-friendly home to build? These builder-friendly designs offer functionality without breaking the bank. Here are the top five most affordable styles according to Clancy:

Ranch Homes

Stylish Ranch Design Stylish Ranch Design Plan: 932-1057

“They often have a simple shape, low-pitch roof, not a lot of covered exterior areas, and complexity of design is kept to a minimum.”

Farmhouse Homes

House Plan with Farmhouse Flair House Plan with Farmhouse Flair Plan: 430-259

“Though many of the farmhouse plans can also be considered a ranch house, they should still be economical to build. Plans that do not have excessive storage and garage space, detailed trim work, and expansive attic space will be on the lower end of the build cost spectrum.”

Garage Apartments

Garage Plan with Living Space Garage Plan with Living Space Plan: 461-87

“These plans are very affordable to build. By having 100% of the living space over the garage, you are saving on build costs, while having a nice home with substantial garage space.”


Duplex Plan with Country Curb Appeal Duplex Plan with Country Curb Appeal Plan: 430-315

“Gaining in popularity, you can almost build ‘two homes at once’ with a duplex. When build costs and living expenses are high, we see people leaning towards these designs. People may want to rent out one side of the duplex or use it to house aging relatives or student children. Having extra space is handy, having a whole extra home to utilize can bring long-term costs down.”

Modern Homes

Chic Modern Plan Chic Modern Plan Plan: 497-57

“Many of the modern home plans are designed with costs in mind. You may get the ‘look’ of a fancy modern home, but design elements such as a single-pitch shed roof, clean foundation lines, low pitch or flat roofs, and energy-efficient designs can save you money during and after construction.”

Long-Term Costs to Consider

Energy Efficiency

Having a home that is energy efficient is a great way to cut back on monthly utility bills. Clancy says there are many things you can do to make your home more sustainable without breaking the bank.

“The most important factors are sealing and insulation. By taking extra measures to seal ductwork, wrap the water heater, use the best wall, ceiling and floor insulation, your home will already be more energy efficient,” he mentions.

The placement of your home is another factor to consider when staying efficient. “Utilizing the path of the sun to optimize how much true daylight your home gets each day, adapting the roof to us solar panels to get even more natural sun energy,” says Clancy. “You also want to make sure all your windows are designed with the latest energy-preserving technology and encased in a properly sealed frame. Same with doors, making sure there are no gaps underneath that can cause draft issues.”

Clancy adds that there are many other things you can do to be eco-friendly once you have moved into your new home. “Running large appliances at night when overall energy consumption is not at a peak, making sure appliances are clean and running smoothly, automating your home with power-saving thermostats, using timers or smart controls for lighting and other powered products. Using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning.”

Handy Tips for Managing Building Costs

Budgeting and Planning

Before the building process even starts, you want to make sure you have a budget and a plan ready to go. This will help you stay on track along the way. A good way to get started is to set up a meeting with your local contractor and determine what you can and can’t afford.

Opt for a House Plan

A ready-made plan can save you both time and money. Opting for a house plan that is already drawn versus starting from scratch is like buying a dress off the rack versus having one custom made for you. Most of the work is already done, even if you end up needing to get some modifications.

How Houseplans Can Help

With tens of thousands of home designs to choose from, Houseplans offers an amazing variety so that you can find the right plan for you. Want to change something about a plan? Our modification service can help. (Although the cost to alter a plan can be as much or more than the plan itself, keep in mind that it is a service.)

Wondering what a plan will cost to build in your area? You can order a Cost to Build report for any house plan. Just go to the plan detail page and click on "Get Cost to Build Report" to get started. Reports are customized to your plan, zip code, and chosen level of finishes.

Whether you’re ready to start the building process tomorrow or are just beginning your journey, we’ve got you covered with the resources and the advice you need to build.

Learn more about our Cost-to-Build reports.

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