The Cost of Building a New Home in Maryland and Washington, DC

 In Uncategorized

Building a new home from the ground up may sound like a promising endeavor. It will give you the house you’ve always dreamed of without having to compromise – and it certainly can, but there’s still a price to pay!

If you’re considering a new build, it’s worth knowing the budgetary breakdown, so you’ll understand where the money goes.

Home Building Variables

According to Home Guide, the average price of building a new house is approximately $248,000. Of course, this varies significantly from project to project. The same source indicates that costs can range from $178,000 to $416,000 on the upper end. Keep in mind, this is a national average, and your own budget can dip slightly below the estimated number or significantly above, depending on your taste and specific design requests.

Variables that affect the cost of the build include:



  • Location. Costs vary between neighborhoods, cities, and states. Building in the south is often less expensive than building in the northeast.
  • Size. The average American home is around 1,650 square feet, but the bigger the house, the greater the cost.
  • Design. Do you want just the basics? Or are you all about going bigger, better, and bolder? The more rooms, the more detail, the more expensive your project will be.
  • Materials. From stolid and serviceable to ultra-luxe, the materials you choose significantly impact the bottom line.

Budgetary Breakdown

So, where exactly does all your money go when you’re building from scratch? On average, building a new house costs about $100 to $150 per square foot. It’s worth noting that Home Guide also indicates new homes in the Northeast Region—including Maryland—tend towards the upper end of the scale at $155 per sqft. 

While the National Association of Home Builders quotes a general contractor’s fee at around $85 per square foot, you’ll still need to account for cost overhead and finishings, not to mention a profit margin for your laborers. Tally all that together, and you have the aforementioned sum of $100 to $150 per square foot. 

But something’s not adding up. The average American home tends to be around 1,650 square feet, and at, let’s say, $125/sqft, that still only brings the calculation to $206,250. What happens to the other $41,750?

Believe it or not, the actual home itself only accounts for about 75 percent of the building costs. And the rest? The cost of financing, purchasing, zoning, permitting, and finishing the land on which you intend to build the house can absorb a pretty hefty chunk of change. Be sure to budget that in before you start, or you could be in for a nasty surprise.

NAHB’s 2017 single-family home price breakdown is based on 44 respondents, with a total cost of $237,760. The approximate home-building costs can be attributed as follows:



  • Site Work – $15,903 or 6.7 percent
    • includes fees for building permits, environmental impact, and inspection
  • Foundations – $25,671 or 10.8 percent
    • plot excavation, foundations, pouring concrete, retaining walls, and backfill 
  • Framing – $41,123 or 17.3 percent
    •  building frames, trusses, sheathing, and more 
  • Exterior Finishes – $33,006 or 13.9 percent
    •  finishing exterior walls, doors, windows, and roof 
  • Major Systems Rough-ins – $32,746 or 13.8 percent
    • installing plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, minus fixtures 
  • Interior Finishes – $67,939 or 28.6 percent
    • Installing insulation, drywall, appliances, and all finishes and fixtures
  • Final Steps – $16,591 or seven percent
    • Landscaping, driveway, outdoor structures, and clean up
  • Other – $4,722 or two percent

Seeing the breakdown, it’s evident the sheer amount of time, effort, and money that goes into new home construction. While some aspiring homeowners love the idea of a new place that is entirely their own, others balk at the price. That’s not to mention the highly-involved decision-making and time spent waiting for construction to be completed.

But if you’re ready to upgrade your living situation, building a new home from scratch—or buying a new home, for that matter—aren’t the only options available to you. If you love your home, but it needs some refreshment or serious TLC, consider a remodel!

Whether it’s major or minor, structural or cosmetic, a renovation project can do wonders for your house and for you. You won’t have to sacrifice your beloved home and neighborhood – or shell out $250,000 to get the results you’re looking for.

That’s where Winthorpe Design & Build comes in. After more than 30 years of servicing clients in Maryland and DC, we know how to make a home look and feel its best. Connect with us today, and let’s talk about the possibilities.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment