Average cost per square foot for new construction

Asked by jason, Denver, CO Thu May 10, 2012

My wife and I are considering buying a scrape and building new. I know there are a lot of variables which would affect the answer, but we are just looking for a ballpark number to see if its even feasible with our budget.

We would like to build a 2 story plus unfinished full basement. Roughly 1100 square feet on each floor. Ideally, we would like to replicate a Denver square. For some reason we both love Denver Squares.

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Tatumlea, Home Buyer, Sebastopol, CA
Thu Jun 16, 2016
Since many retail & commercial buildings require additional finishing like insulation or facade customization, the cost may rise to $30 or $40 per square foot (SF). - See more at: http://USAConstructionLoans.com
2 votes
Jon Roberts, Agent, Denver, CO
Fri May 11, 2012
I work with a lot of Scrape Developers in Central Denver. Their cost per SF to build a 2,000'ish SF above grade home with average+ finishes is about $130/SF. Now realize, that is THEIR cost. To build for a customer, they will add market up & fees to provide for their living of building homes. Just like any business & industry, how much mark up will vary greatly, but this will give you a place to start.

Also know that the cost per SF to build has a TON to do with the level of finish you choose. If you start specifying high end finishes, your costs go up QUICK. Beware. Spec Developers play a very sensitive game of specifying finishes that look good but don't cost a lot... that is how they make their money.

And do discern the difference between Cost per SF to build (which I think is the question you are asking) vs. the Cost per SF to buy a home which it appears below some brokers are answering. Those costs are higher because that # includes Land, Construction costs & Soft Costs (professional services like Architect, Developer Fee, etc).

I specialize in finding great scrape building lots in Central Denver. Please let me know if you would like me to help find you one. I also know several builder contacts.
Web Reference:  http://www.jonrroberts.com
1 vote
Hi Jon, I am a developer and contractor from Santa Fe. I specilaized in multi family infill. Considering doing similar projects in Denver. Interested in what properties you might know about. Thanks, Jeff Major
Flag Fri Sep 18, 2015
Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Thu May 10, 2012
Hi -- there is no average; cost per square foot isn't the best way to determine value on any residential property because it "assumes" all properties are the same. Obviously, they aren't -- it's harder to determine value with newly built homes because they don't have to "prove" value like a resale home because they typically have buyers use "their" lenders.

Is this a good deal for you the buyer? Usually not, to be honestly. If you buy a resale home, that home's value is determined by "comparable sales" within the past six months. Builders homes are always higher, plus they don't tell you about the "extras" you'll have to spend after you close. For example, in most cases, window coverings/blinds, sprinkler systems, fences, landscaping. When you go to sell in the future, you will not recover a dime from these expenditures, as they are an "expectation of sale."

If I can answer any other questions, feel free to contact me at 303-906-3150 or jmontgomery@coloradomasters.com. Resale can, in many cases, be a better buy. Julie Montgomery, RE/MAX Masters, Inc., http://www.jmontgomery.com
1 vote
I took the question to be about building a new home not comparing buying and existing vs building a new home. Typical square footage cost estimates are useful to help you start to narrow in on the size and scope of the project you can afford to build. You don't want to start out designing to build a 3,000 sf home without having a ballpark range for the cost you could expect. Obviously there are many decisions and material options that will greatly affect the cost. Typical cost per square footage is a starting point in the process.
Flag Fri Apr 18, 2014
Rossana Salas, Agent, Anaheim Hills, CA
Sat Apr 16, 2016
how much does it cost to build 3,000sf in orange county?
0 votes
stephen holb…, Agent, denver, CO
Sat May 12, 2012
Seems like most of the answers are coming for sales people. As I posted earlier. I've been building Denver since 1977. I'm also areal estate broker. Again, as I said earlier, I think if you think in the $195/s.f range , you can get what you describe. Sound like a simple structure you're defining, and if the site doesn't require a lot of environmental remediation (Yes, this is a BIG deal thanks to our good friends at EPA) I think you should do what my son did last week and step up to bat. See my new homes (I only have 1 new one left.) at my website http://holbenhomes.com It was a scrape. It is in the wonderful Wellshire neighborhood just South of Observatory and North of the golf course. I'd be happy to show it to you and explain my thinking.
0 votes
Tim Klein, Agent, Littleton, CO
Thu May 10, 2012
Jason - in addition to the ballpark numbers already posted, don't forget architectural costs.
0 votes
stephen holb…, Agent, denver, CO
Thu May 10, 2012
Been building since '77. Without a lot you should think in the $165/s.f range plus costs to remove an existing home fro a site. I have 1 new home left in the Wellshire neighborhood. it is a main mastered with an unfinished basement. See 3070 S. Jackson at my web site http://holbenhomes.com It currently is not in MLS.
0 votes
Jacquie Finh…, , Denver, CO
Thu May 10, 2012
I believe that around $230 psf ish a square foot would get you pretty nice finishes. It really depends on the builder too. Some of the higher end builders would be around $300 psf. (Not including land value)

Best of luck,

Jacquie Finholm
0 votes
Debbie Taylor, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 10, 2012
Depending on finishes and lot value it can very. I worked with many builders in Washington Park and I personally scraped and built. Give me a call and we can discuss details of cost. Thanks, Debbie Taylor, CRS, Realtor 303-589-6692
0 votes
Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu May 10, 2012

I just did a quick search of new build Denver homes in 80220. This is a popular and reasonable price area to do 'crape and builds'. For a home you described the range is about $200.00 per square foot. The other variables are of course location, quality of work and amenities. In an area like Wash Park the price could easily go to the $300.00 range and higher. Let me know if you would like a more detailed report for valuation in order to do a project like this.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
1776 S. Jackson St. #412
Denver CO 80210
Direct – 303-669-1246
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Thu May 10, 2012
This is exactly like asking; " How much does a new car cost?"
New construction will run between $250 per square foot and $500 per square foot:
That will mean between $275,000 to $550,000 not including the cost of the land.
0 votes
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