what-is-the-average-cost-to-build-a-1500-square-foot-house

Buying any home is a huge investment, and you may consider many factors when making a decision for your family. This can include whether to build a new home or buy an existing one and what your requirements, including size, are. The average-sized home in 2019 was about 2,500 square feet- but what if you need less space and prefer to build a new home in Davenport, FL? We will break down the average cost of a 1500 square foot home to help you determine if this is the right path for you.

What Can 1500 Square Feet Include?

Most of us cannot instantly visualize what 1500 square feet means, especially when it is in the shape of a house, which could include different features and stories. An average home of 1500 square feet will usually include:

  • 2 to 3 bedrooms, with one being a master bedroom
  • 2 to 2 and a half bathrooms
  • A laundry room or space
  • A mid-sized kitchen
  • A dedicated dining room
  • A living room

This could be within one story or in a split-level home. Keep in mind that a home with a garage, carport, porch, or patio may include that space in square footage calculations. A home size of 1,500 square feet is popularly requested, especially as experts in recent years have listed it as the “ideal” house size for most families.

Homes in the United States have gradually increased in size over the last century, with the average home coming in around 2,600 square feet. However, this can be greatly skewed depending upon where in the country you look. For example, Colorado boasts an average house size of 2,126, while urban areas like San Francisco have an average home size of 1,150 square feet. Florida has an average home size of 1,694 square feet.

Regional Costs for Building

You could build 1500 square foot homes in two locations and pay extremely different prices. This is because the region you are in, the materials used, the type of community where you build, and customizations are all factors. However, we can look at averages to begin understanding what to expect.

The average price range for a 1500 square foot home is between $155,000 and $416,250, with the national average coming in at $248,000. Customizations are the quickest way to go above these averages when building.

Home prices are often expressed in cost per square foot. Different regions will have very different averages for this metric.

  • The southern region of the United States has the lowest average, coming in at $90 to $125 per square foot, or $135,000 to $187,500 for a 1500 square foot home.
  • The Midwest has an average cost of $100 to $149 per square foot, or $150,000 to $223,500 per 1500 square foot home.
  • In the west, each square foot is between $100 and $150+, or $150,000 to $225,000+ for 1500 square feet.
  • The most expensive region is the Northeast, with an average range of $125 to $150+ per square foot, or $187,500 to $225,000+.

While these regional averages give you an idea of pricing, it is also important to remember that cities may come in at a much higher range. For example:

  • In the South, Asheville, North Carolina’s average home price for 1500 square feet is $350,000 to $475,000, while Dallas, Texas is $200,000 to $650,000.
  • Midwestern cities like Chicago average $200,000 to $750,000 and Denver, Colorado is $275,000 to $550,000.
  • New York City will run $175,000 to $550,000, and other Northeastern cities like Washington D.C. average $200,000 to $575,000.
  • Western hub Seattle has an average range of pricing between $200,000 to $475,000, and Los Angeles is $150,000 to $500,000.

Cost by Building Process

Building a home is a long process, and each step contributes to the total cost of a house. To understand why your home may cost what it does, it is important to consider each of these steps and their cost.

Using an average of $232,000 and a 1500 square foot home, we have broken down the expected costs of building by the job. This is representative of a standard home and does not include any extras like a pool or hot tub.

Land Development and Site Work – 6.2% of Total Cost

Land Development and Site WorkPrior to building even one square foot, your plot of land has to be prepared for construction. This involves obtaining the right permits and paying associated fees, inspections of water and sewer, and architecture and engineering costs.

  • Building permits – 1.7%, $3,944
  • Impact fee – 1.3%, $3,016
  • Water and sewer inspections – 1.5%, $3,480
  • Architecture and engineering – 1.5%, $3,480
  • Miscellaneous fees – 0.2%, $464

Total: $14,384

Foundation – 11.8% of Total Cost

FoundationThe first step toward building your home is laying a foundation. The cost of this will vary depending on your home’s floor plan, as different areas require different types. For example, basements are more expensive than slab foundation, but slab foundation is more expensive than a crawl space.

  • Excavation, concrete, retaining walls, foundation pour, and backfill – 11.8%, $27,376
  • Average cost of a concrete slab: $4 to $16 per square foot
  • Average cost of a concrete crawl space: $5 to $16 per square foot
  • Average cost of a basement: $10 to $25 per square foot
  • Others – 0.05%, $1,160

Total: $28,536

Framing – 17.4% of Total Cost

FramingOnce laid, the foundation to your home must cure. This chemical process can take 14 to 21 days and allow the concrete to reach its maximum strength. When complete, the construction crew can begin framing your house. Depending on the number of stories, home layout, and materials, costs may vary.

  • Framing and roof – 13.7%, $31,784
  • Trusses (if not included in other costs) – 2.1%, $4,872
  • Sheathing (if not included in other costs) – 1.1%, $2,552
  • Materials like metal and steel – 0.3%, $696
  • Other – 0.2%, $464

Total: $40,368

Exterior Work – 14.1% of Total Cost

Exterior WorkThe exterior work can include wrapping the house, installing insulation, putting up the siding, and installing doors and windows. Again, the average cost may vary depending on the materials used. For example, using energy-efficient windows and doors will cost more than more common versions

  • Finishing exterior walls (wrapping, insulation, and siding) – 6.5%, $15,080
  • Finishing roofing – 3.4%, $7,888
  • Installing windows, doors, and garage doors – 4%, $9,280
  • Other – 0.2%, $464

Total: $32,712

Installing Major Systems – 14.7% of Total Cost

Installing Major SystemsMajor systems may include plumbing, electrical, and HVAC equipment. This does not include lighting fixtures and other details.

  • Plumbing – 5%, $11,600
  • Electrical – 4.7%, $10,904
  • HVAC – 4.8%, $11,136
  • Other – 0.3%, $696

Total: $34,336

Interior Finishes – 25.4% of Total Cost

Interior FinishesEach interior finish can range widely in price. You may choose extravagant details or very economical ones, and this can impact the prices.

  • Interior insulation – 1.7%, $3,944
  • Hanging drywall – 3.6%, $8,352
  • Installing interior doors, trim, hanging mirrors – 3.6%, $8,352
  • Painting – 2.8%, $6,496
  • Lighting – 1.2%, $2,784
  • Cabinets and countertops – 4.6%, $10,672
  • Appliances – 1.6%, $3,712
  • Flooring – 4%, $9,280
  • Fireplace – 0.6%, $1,392
  • Other – 0.3%, $696

Total: $58,028

Finishing Touches – 6.8% of Total Cost

Finishing TouchesThe last steps include landscaping, laying down a driveway, building any outdoor structures like decks or patios, and cleaning up the space.

  • Landscaping – 2.3%, $15,776
  • Outdoor structures – 2.2%, $5,104
  • Driveway placement – 1.2%, $2,320
  • Site cleanup – 1%, $2,320
  • Other – 0.1%, $232

Total: $26,216

Miscellaneous – 3.8% of Total Cost

Other costs that may arise can include financing costs, overhead, and profit before taxes. Your contractor can help you understand what might be included.

Should I Build a 1500 Square Foot House?

You will have to make two major decisions when it comes to answering this question: your budget and the size of home you need. If 1500 square feet is enough to meet your needs, you can begin to estimate the cost using a guideline of $100 to $200 per square foot.

Keep in mind that the cost of labor and materials may differ in your area and budget accordingly. In addition, costs are currently high as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a range of supply chain issues. This may mean you need to make compromises. If you set aside $10,000 for high-grade cabinets and countertops, understand that this may only buy you builder-grade items in this environment.

You may also need to consider where you will be building within your region. Some new developments include land as a part of their pricing, but you can also choose to purchase a plot of land and build your home there. In this scenario, you would need to account for the cost of purchasing the land as well. The costs listed above also do not reflect any payments to a realtor, closing costs, or other administrative fees typical of the home buying process.

Ultimately, if you think that building is a better option for you and you can afford 1500 square feet in costs, this may be a great option. You can speak with a realtor and contractors in your area to identify opportunities to build new homes and even look at other listings for ideas of what is important to you.


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