July 1, 2019

The Cost to Build a House in 2019

For many of us, building our dream house is something we hope to do one day. Regardless of the size, style and other features, building your own home can seem like an expensive and time-consuming thing to do. With a little planning and budget, it is achievable! Here are some common costs and other things to consider when building your own home.

You know you are really grown-up when you move out of your parent’s house. One of the biggest milestones we pass is when we buy our own home, rather than renting.

The problem with buying a home is that you are buying someone else’s problem! Why buy something that is less than perfect when you can build your own?

That’s right! The cost to build a home isn’t as expensive as you might think. You can make your home exactly the size and way you want it done, too, not just “settle” for someone else’s idea of what a house should be.

What does it cost to build a house in 2019? That depends on many factors. We’ve made a handy guide to help you figure out all your options.

House being constructed

What is the Average Cost to Build a Home in Australia?

The cost will vary tremendously depending on the price of land. The Urban Development Institute of Australia reported that, in 2017, the median lot price in Sydney was $476,000. That price drops to $281,000 for Melbourne and Adelaide’s median price was $167,000. This averages out to about $746 per square meter.

While the median price of a home also varies greatly, the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated in their June 2018 data, that the median house price was $1,270.80 per square meter. This price, however, didn’t include permits or housing upgrades.

This would make the average 251.7 square meter home cost about $320,000. This might sound quite high, but when you consider that these are “median” prices, you are probably quite right in thinking that you could have a home built for considerably less.

House being built from wood

Things That Can Impact the Price of a Home

In the same way that similar houses in different neighbourhoods can vary quite a bit in price, the same is true when building your own home.

The cost to build a house can vary depending on:

  • Soil quality (Testing costs are approximately $1,500)
  • Soil improvement if the soil fails to meet the “M” classification
  • The slope of the block
  • Flood or bushfire prone areas
  • The materials which are chosen (if they are limited or need to be ordered or imported, the price will increase)
  • The overall size of the lot
  • The size of the house
  • The quality of the materials and/or fixtures (marble floors or tile?)
  • The length of the driveway and the materials desired
  • Landscaping
  • Possible fees if roads need to be closed
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Land registration

There are other items that, while not overly expensive, are still an added cost, such as wheelie bins, interest on the loan while the house is under construction and unexpected delays.

Architect drawing up blueprints for house

Typical Costs People Forget When Building a Home

While we mentioned some of the possible added costs, there are still plenty of things many prospective home builders forget when trying to estimate the cost to build a house, including:

  • Flood-prone areas will not only need added insurance, but the house must be constructed in a manner that would prevent possible death in a worst-case flood scenario
  • BASIX. If you are planning on building in New South Wales, government rules state that builders must follow a Building Sustainability Index, which is a set of regulations designed to improve eco-friendliness.
  • Home design. Unless your brother-in-law is an architect, you will need to pay to have the home designed.
  • Land that has not previously been registered must pay registration fees and the extra costs of connecting sewer lines, water pipes and electric lines.
  • The slope of the land can stack up some significant costs. If the property you are considering has a very steep slope, you might want to think twice. The average price for every 1 metre of fall is $6,000! If this fall is sideways across the block, then it’s a whopping $9,000 per every metre!
  • If you received an estimate to build a house and it took you another 2 years between the time when that estimate was written and the time you actually purchased the land, don’t be surprised when the cost of material increases by 5 or even 10 per cent. Blame it on inflation, mate.
  • If construction of your home involves blocking traffic or full-out road closures, expect to pay a price to have traffic redirected.
  • Site preparation costs can be astronomical! This cost also varies depending on what it entails, but if you need to demolish an old building or do excavation to install new sewer pipes or cut down a substantial number of trees, you could be looking at an additional $10,000 or more.
  • Temporary site costs. Be certain to ask your builder to add in the costs of temporary building sites, such as port-a-potty rentals and temporary fencing.
  • Design changes or modifications can also tack on a nasty price hike. If you change your mind part way through about adding on a skylight or putting in a jacuzzi in the master bath, you can easily run up unexpected charges you hadn’t planned on
  • Moving expenses. Unless you are lucky enough that you can purchase new furniture and appliances for your new home, you will need to pay for movers to pack up your old stuff and put it in your new digs. If you are moving quite a distance, this can be a fairly large added expense
Large ew family home

The Bottom Line

Don’t let this guide put you off when it comes to building your own home. The cost to build a home only gets unbearable when you don’t do your homework first. Be certain that you consider all of the possible expenditures, such as the ones listed above, add a little extra to cushion any unexpected problems since most people tend to go between 10 and 20% over budget. Put that cushion into your expected expenses (or loan request) and you will be far ahead of the game.

There really is nothing to match the satisfaction of owning a home; especially a home that you helped to design and tended to from the ground up.

Happy house building!

Newly built white house

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