Price per Square Foot

How Much does it Cost to Build a New Home?

It would be so much easier to answer this question if there was a “one price fits all” solution, but there isn’t. Until the design is finalized and all of the specifications that make your home unique are selected, no builder can say precisely how much your custom home will cost to build.

Here are some of the factors that can dramatically affect the cost per sq. ft. of your new home:

The Type of Home

You might think it’s more expensive to build a multi-story home, but that’s not usually the case. A single floor bungalow or rancher will have a larger foundation and roof than a multi-story home with the same square footage. The cost for things like a roof, and basement for a bungalow or rancher could be double what it would cost for a multi-story dwelling. A walkout basement also costs more to build than a standard in-ground basement.

Building Size

The overall size of a home affects the cost per square foot but maybe not in the way you’d expect. Naturally, a larger home’s price will be higher, but the cost per square foot is usually less. As room size increases, the cost of materials and labour doesn’t always increase at the same rate. Therefore, a 2000 square foot home might cost $200 per square foot to build, but a similarly spec’d 3000 square foot house could cost $180 per square foot.

Building Systems

You might not put a lot of thought into the things that are hidden away in your walls, but they all cost money too. A typical home might have a gas furnace and fibreglass insulation. A custom home may have geothermal heating and cooling, hot water radiant floor heating, an electronic air cleaner, heat recovery ventilation, and spray foam insulation. They may not be glamorous, but all of these premium features increase the price of a home.

Site Conditions

The location and geography of the building site can dramatically increase the cost of building a new home. Not all sites are flat with easy road access. The amount of available working space can affect the types of machinery that can be used on the site. Even the need to protect trees on the lot can affect the type of equipment that can be used. That can have a big impact on the time and cost needed to build a home. Need to terrace the site to allow for the installation of a pool? Don’t forget to add that to the price of the house.


Building a home on an un-serviced lot requires additional site preparation work such as the installation of septic system, water well, and electrical services that must be added to the cost of building the house.

Complex Architecture

Architectural features like intricate roof lines with peaks, valleys, dormers, and vaulted ceilings will increase the amount of labour and materials required to build a home. Exterior walls with several corners and build-outs also require more materials and labour than straight, flat walls, increasing the cost of building a house.

Premium Materials

Exterior finishes such as stone or brick, roofing materials like slate, hardwood floors, custom kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, and high-end plumbing and lighting fixtures can all dramatically increase the cost of building a home. Labour costs will also be affected by the types of materials used because some are much more labour intensive to install than others.

Price Depends on Countless Details

There are so many factors that can affect the final cost per sq. ft. of a house; it’s virtually impossible for any new home builder to give you an upfront price for your home, even if you know exactly how many square feet you need.

As a general rule of thumb, a new home will cost between $175 and $325 per square foot, not including the lot. So, if your dream home is 3000 square feet, you should expect to pay between $525,000 and $975,000 to have it built. That’s a very broad price range, and it demonstrates why it’s so difficult for a custom builder to give you even a ballpark figure for the price of your home before the plans have been drawn up and specifications are documented.

Every Project Starts with a Budget

When you have a new home built by Okanagan Builders, we work with you to determine a budget, right from the beginning. We’ll design a home that fits your budget, so there are no surprises when it’s time to hand you the keys to your new home.

A Home That’s as Unique as you Are

If cookie-cutter isn’t your style, and you want to live in a home that’s as unique as you are, contact us. We’ll walk you through our process and show you how satisfying it can be to play a key role in designing a home built just for you.

What does custom mean?


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