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November 2018

West Coast region reports costliest contractor-built homes

Contractor-built homes cost nearly 80 percent more per square foot on the West Coast than in the East South Central division of the U.S., according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The median price per square foot, excluding the value of improved lots, is $155 for contractor-built homes in the Pacific division, which encompasses Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii. At the lowest end of the median price spectrum, at $90 per square foot, is the region that includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.

NAHB estimates are based on the Survey of Construction (SOC) data using information from interviews of builders and owners of selected new houses.

Region
Median Contract Price
Per Square Foot
Median SalePrice
Per Square Foot
Pacific
$155$153
New England
$150$150
Mountain
$144$115
Middle Atlantic
$126$120
West North Central
$118$107
East North Central
$114$101
South Atlantic
$94$96
West South Central
$93$92
East South Central
$90$86

Source: 2017 Survey of Construction (NAH Estimates)

NAHB noted highly variant land values cannot explain the regional differences in per square foot cots. "Higher and rising regulatory costs undoubtedly contribute to higher per square foot prices," they stated.

The builder analysis also explained the difference in square footage costs of custom homes versus spec homes (excluding improved lot values), suggesting buyers of custom homes tend to be willing to wait longer to move into a new home and are inclined to pay extra for pricier features and materials.

The Survey of Construction uses all completely finished floor space, including space in basements and attics with finished walls, floors, and ceilings. The calculations do not include a garage, carport, porch, unfinished attic or utility room, or any unfinished area of the basement.