It's not doing you justice to give you an 'average' when considering the costs of construction here in Santa Cruz. Because Santa Cruz is not really an average run of the mill type environment. Almost any lot you compare nowdays are not really comparable because Santa cruz is mostly built out. You will see infill lots, lot split sell offs, or uneven rural lots and land. And the 'type of lot' you choose has many effects on the cost, as it can greatly change your 'building costs'.
If you speak with anyone who has tried to build a home for themself ( or major remodel), you'll get a different story. And for most unexperienced contractors (or contractors unfamiliar with Santa Cruzs' requirements, foundation work is the number one underestimated cost when it comes to 'the cost of construction'. There aren't many 'normal' lots left in santa cruz (level, post stamp type, etc..). So you'll need case by case advise. You may find that a postage, level lot, in which foundation is not a major issue, you would expect to pay approx $200- $300+ per foot, depending on certain ammenities. However most of the time, the 'ideal lot' for someone planning to build here has the uneven terrain to contend. Please make note there are two types of costs 'soft' and 'hard.'. How much the lot costs (hard cost), permits (soft costs) drawings(soft costs),construction loan fees (soft cost), take out loan fees (soft costs), carrying costs (soft), defferred interest payments during construction (soft),etc...all may come into play.
There are many details that in an area like ours is hard to give you an average and do your question any real justice.
Another major vairable, here in Santa Cruz ,are custom home costs because most of what is here is not tract housing. The contractor may be lower, in bid, however, they may be cutting some tof the finishing work that will ony avail themselves to you later. So make sure to see the overall materials list when a contractor bids on a specific project. If possible, get references (pictures and addresses) of other buildings the contractor has completed over 2 yrs old.
I have sold properties for some good contractors that I can connect you with, that have references you can see locally. ...or if you need to ask a professional builder some friendly questions, I can personally put you in contact with teh right one as a courtesy. If you have something in mind great, otherwise, I can help you find the right lot that would fit your needsa as an active Realtor here in Santa Cruz County. I might even be able to see you through to completion!
(831) 239-3222 Direct
(831) 688-3088 Office
if you use linoleum (green), hardy board siding, commercial glass etc. Pick a solid contractor and discuss your options. Then go to the county to see where the permit costs lie hidden!
Another thing to consider is holding costs - assuming the home or land is not completely paid for, there will be monthly costs to hold the property. And, if you're not able to live there, you'll be paying rent or a mortgage on another property on top of that. Don't miss these expenses in any calculations you do. Good luck and let me know if I can help in any other way.
Hope this helps.