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How Much Does it Cost to Buy a New House?

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a New Home?

Homeowners report the average cost to build a new house comes in at $291,874, which would put the cost of a 2,000 square foot home at about $150 per square foot.

If you’re in the market for a new home, you already know that, from qualifying for financing to deciding on the home you want to finally getting your hands on the keys, it’s a process. But, for those willing to get their financial house in order and exercise a little bit of patience, building a new home in Austin is well worth the wait – and the investment.

There are many reasons U.S. News & World Report has named Austin one of the Best Places to Live two years running, and the variety of housing options and relative affordability are chief among them. Austin also continues to remain a hot real estate market. According to the most recent statistics from the Austin Board of Realtors, home sales in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area (MSA) are up 3.6 percent from the first nine months of 2017.

We’ve also had a 4.2 percent increase in the median home price, which jumped from $290,000 to $302,250 – due in part to high demand across the city and limited housing stock – and is now above the national average of $290,574. And, more and more Austinites are choosing to build or buy a new home: According to Metrostudy, builders have started on more than 16,000 homes in the past year – not far from the peak of 18,000 new homes in 2006.

Build or Buy?

But how much does it really cost to buy a new home in Austin? Much of the answer to that question depends on whether you want to buy an existing home or build one yourself. Either option is a very personal decision, and at the end of the day, it depends on what kind of homeowner experience you really want.

For example, while remodeling can be a fun DIY adventure, the idea of replacing neon-green carpeting, old laminate countertops and broken appliances while potentially living in the house can be a real headache – unless you’re the kind of buyer who is truly passionate about restoring the bones of a particular structure.

For others, there’s something special about being the first owner of a brand-new home – from making decisions on options and decorating in the style you want to the satisfaction that the home you’re creating will be a true expression of you and your space.

A 2017 survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also found that more buyers prefer a new home to an existing one. About 65 percent want that home to be in the suburbs – and most would rather have a smaller house with more features and amenities versus a “McMansion.” Warranties and stability are other reasons, especially when it comes to maintenance.

Brand-new or move-in ready homes often carry better warranties and are a plus for buyers who have other, more important financial priorities – like rebuilding a savings account, preparing for the arrival of children, or saving for college. Energy efficiency is another money-saving plus, Newer homes sport better windows, more efficient heating and cooling equipment, smarter use of insulation, and even options for solar heating or roof panels to help reduce energy use even further.

Dollar for Dollar: New Home Options

No matter what your choice, building a home involves multiple steps –- from figuring out a reasonable budget, finding the right property, and choosing your construction method to figuring out plans and home design, getting all the necessary permits and inspections, actually building the house, and closing on your new home.

For those interested in building, the cost can vary from around $150/square foot up to $300/square foot and more for a super-customized, luxury home. Recent stats from HomeAdvisor say that homeowners report the average cost to build a new house comes in at $291,874, which would put the cost of a 2,000 square foot home at about $150 per square foot. However, that cost will vary significantly depending what options buyers choose: HomeAdvisor estimates that costs could range anywhere between $148,974 and $435,534.

Custom or Not?

Building a custom home that fits your exact specifications is just one option for buyers. The home builder may offer a choice of floor plans you can modify, or you can to with an architect to create the kind of floor plan you want.  You’re also able to pick out just about every single detail of the house – from appliances to flooring, finishes, and even landscaping. Of course, working with an architect and custom builder, paying related design fees and choosing everything yourself is going to increase the cost – expect to pay at least $250/square foot for this option.

Working with a large national builder is another attractive option for buyers because you can get some of that custom feel without the all-custom cost. Buyers can pick from a fixed list of layout choices and finishes, yet still add custom options here and there – depending on the builder. This option is less expensive (roughly about 150-$175/square foot) and, the further out from Austin you choose to build, the less it will cost.

Master-planned communities are yet another option and offer a number of recreational facilities—lakes, jogging trails, parkland, etc.— and other amenities, like pools, parks, workout facilities and community centers. And, depending on the location, buying a new home in a master-planned community can be a great – and affordable – option for buyers.

No matter what your preference, home buyers in Austin have plenty of options from which to choose to create something truly special in their new home.

Find out more

Considering your next home purchase? Check out the resources on myHouseby: We can help with your research, save you valuable time, and make it easier for you to discover and find the right home for your lifestyle.

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