How Much Does it Cost to Build a Home in California?

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Home in California?

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By Mateos Glen Hayes April 30, 2021

It’s no secret that California is not a cheap place to live. On average, living costs are higher in the Golden State than in other parts of the country. This is also true for homeownership. The median price for a new home in California stands at $552,800 which is over three hundred thousand dollars higher than the national median cost. Having said that, forty million people live in California. The state has long been the destination for families who like its good economy and sunny weather.

While the median cost of buying a home is usually higher in California than in most other states, this sizable cost hides a lot of nuances. The truth is that homebuilding costs in California vary wildly depending on the location. Properties in Los Angeles may be more expensive on average than those in smaller places like California City. However, there are considerable benefits to making California your new home. In this article, we’ll show you how to navigate the “California Cost”. We’ll give you pointers on how to avoid getting beached by high expenses. You’ll be happy to know that it is possible to build a home in California and save money at the same time.  

Why Building is Smarter than Buying: The Lowdown on California Real Estate 

The California Housing Market

The California Housing Market

Though buying tends to be cheaper than house building in the Golden State, there are several reasons to consider building instead. While it’s possible to find homes that are at a more affordable price point (meaning between $200,000-400,000), these homes are usually a few decades old. They are also likely to be in a more remote location of the state. This means that while cheaper, an affordable home in the Golden State may have extra maintenance costs crop up over the years. You might decide that a house remodeling project is necessary, and this will drive up costs further. California’s real estate market is doing quite well, but it is very competitive as a result. A home for sale in California only stays listed for an average of 30 days before finding a buyer. This makes it much harder to find a home that fits your budget and your requirements.

House building, by contrast, comes with several benefits. For one, building your own house allows you to design the look, features, and cost of your California house. Everything can be customizable to your satisfaction, and a newer home will be up to code. It can even have more modern and energy-efficient features, which will help recover expenses. One challenge of building a home is buying land. Instead of building your own house, you can also buy a tract home, which will give you the same luxury of customization without the hassle of finding a good plot of land.   

Home Construction Costs in California 

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House In California

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House In California

When building your new California home there will be several costs to account for, the first of which is the approval complex. California is a state that loves regulations, so take some time to research what you’ll need to get your project approved. Any home design must adhere to California’s building code requirements. There will be some permits to pull along the way, and some fees to go along with them. You’ll need to factor in these costs ($1,200 to $3,000 on average) along with material costs. If you are prepared for this approval process you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Expect it to take a month or two for everything to get sorted. Ultimately, having a good plan for your Cali homebuilding project means having a flexible plan. Be sure that your plan can account for the unexpected.  

To Buy Or to Build a House in California?

To Buy Or to Build a House in California?

The biggest cost will likely be the land you build on. It is possible to find land in the Los Angeles area that is worth as little as $30,000. However, these plots are often unfinished, and therefore not ready for you to build a home on. Ideally, you’ll want to find land that is already cleared and set for house construction. This will dramatically cut down on costs and on the time it takes to build your house. On average, you can find a good acre of land for between $50,000 and $100,000. Then come the expenses of the actual house building: foundation work, framing, major system rough-ins, exterior finishes, interior finishes, and final touches. With all the stages factored in, the most affordable homes built in California will total $300,000 with these stages factored in. 

There are a few additional costs to think about as well. For one, you and your family will need a place to stay while your new home is being built, and that means you might have to rent. Average monthly rent costs are usually between $1,400 and $2,400 depending on the city. As in any house construction project, delays can happen, so be prepared for those to add to construction costs as well. 

Why California? 

Why You Should Build a House In California

Why You Should Build a House In California

When it comes to house building, Californian standards are the benchmark for the rest of the country. This means that your home will be built with some of the highest quality and most energy-efficient materials available.

Beyond that, there are many great reasons to move to the Golden State, not least because it is California. California is easily and often considered one of the coolest states in America. It is a cultural powerhouse and a center for many high-tech industries. Its weather is universally loved, with its many sunny days and cool crisp evenings. The state is known for its diversity and is also a hub for many delicious foods from all over the world. California is also one of the healthiest states, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures in National Parks. Thanks to its high-quality education systems and its neverending list of fun things to do, it’s a great place to raise kids, too. All of these qualities make California a dynamic and interesting place to build your next home.

California Cost-Cutting Tips 

As you make your dream of a California home a reality, a few smart steps can make a difference in what your total cost will be. When looking for contractors and engineers for your house construction project, hire licensed professionals. California’s State License Board allows you to look up contractors and verify that they are registered. Having licensed professionals working on your project makes it much more likely to be completed successfully. This applies to house renovations and retrofits as it does to house building. When designing your California home, you should also be mindful of its size. Tiny houses may not be to everyone’s taste, but a house that is too big can also cause issues. At the end of the day, a bigger footprint for your home means bigger energy bills and higher maintenance costs for you. 

California Housing Market Cost-Cutting Tips

California Housing Market Cost-Cutting Tips

When building a house in California, finding cost-effective materials will keep costs down. Remember, the most important part of your house is its “skeleton”. Expensive cladding may look nice, but it isn’t necessary for a strong foundation. There are plenty of ways to make your house look good without breaking the bank. In the same vein, it pays to keep your house design simple and to maximize its energy efficiency. This will keep long-term maintenance costs down. It will also ensure that your house-building project doesn’t fall behind schedule. By following these tips, and making some smart purchase and design decisions, you’ll be well on your way to building a perfect home in the Golden State.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes