We're about to move several states away and have begun the house hunting process. We're moving to a region that, like most in the US, has seen housing costs tank, though it is a small enclave of relatively higher costs homes due to location (compared to even 40 miles away).

However, it appears that construction costs are also tanking and that it might make sense for us to consider building a house as well.

Is there a resource out there that helps plot ballpark prices in a region for new construction? Something like Zillow but instead of recently sold costs, recently built? Being able to see some recent build costs would be a good way to peg it against home costs to see if its something we should pursue further (which I know involves tons of other variables...land, foundation, sewage, electrical, gas, permits, architect, etc, etc...)

  • When i used to build there used to be a lon g equation- then you knew that if you wanted to build 100m sqaure house single storey it would cost example 1500USD per metre.. but i dont know where to find the equatio.n
    – Piotr Kula
    Jul 6, 2011 at 5:42

3 Answers 3


As a former construction estimator, I would suggest that you get in touch with the contractor sales department at a building supplies store in the area in which you're considering building. Quite often the estimators there will have a ballpark "per-square-foot" price for materials, and may have an idea of a ballpark price for labour, too. They can probably refer you to reputable builders as well.

That said, there are really far too many variables for a ballpark estimate like that to be at all useful. You can get a house to lock-up fairly cheaply, but it's the finishing work that's really going to determine the end cost. The cost of a beautiful metal tile roof is going to be a lot more than 20-year asphalt shingles, and the cost of vinyl siding is going to be a lot less than stone, as examples.

To get any kind of accuracy in an estimate, you're going to need to have a set of plans and you'll need to decide what exactly you want in terms of finishing, land, appliances, etc. Anything shy of that is really just going to be pulling numbers out of thin air.


Here's a Wall Street Journal article (published in 2007, granted it maybe a little dated, but should still be current enough to help you get a workable ballpark figure) that contains some useful links that should prove helpful in the process of calculating the cost of building your own home:

Here's another link that contains some helpful information:


If you are in the UK, get yourself a copy of “The Housebuilder’s bible”, it contains a lot of very useful costing tables. (On Amazon it is all too easy to buy an old version of the book, as Amazon does not remove out of date copies from its website, so be careful.)

Also read the author's (Mark Brinkley) blog.

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