How Much Does it Cost to Build a House?

How Much Does it Cost to Build a House?

Building a house is one of the most significant financial investments many Canadians make in their lifetime.

If you’re looking to build your dream house, knowing how much it costs to build a house in Canada is crucial. The cost of the building could vary significantly depending on where you want to build, inflation, and economic factors.

The cost of building a single-family house in Canada’s main cities ranges from $120 to $275 per square foot. Vancouver and Toronto are the most costly, at $150–275 and $165–260 per square foot, respectively. Montréal, Calgary, and Edmonton are cheaper, with $125–200 and $130–190 per square foot, respectively.

In this article, we will explore the average cost of building a house in Canada. We’d also discuss some factors that could affect your budget. This article will also cover how to build a house and how long it takes.

How much does it cost to build a house in Canada on average?

The average cost to build a home in Canada depends on location, size, and type. We used price-per-square-foot numbers from Altus Group’s 2023 Canadian Cost Guide to give you an idea.

Our estimates are based on the cost of building single-family homes within several major Canadian cities. Notably, the cost of buying land is not included in these estimates, which can be expensive.

CityAverage cost per square foot
St. John’s$130-$165

What is the average size of a home in Canada, 2023?

The average home size in Canada has steadily increased over the years. According to data from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the average size of a newly constructed single-detached home in 2023 is approximately 1,984 ft2. You can roughly estimate the cost of building a house.

However, location, type of home, and homeowner needs and preferences can significantly affect a home’s size. Homes in urban areas tend to be smaller than those in suburban or rural areas, with more land for larger homes.

For example, the average detached house in Ontario is 1,520 ft2, while the average in Nova Scotia is 1,150 ft2. When estimating, you want to determine the average house size in your city and multiply that by the average cost per square foot.

You can easily estimate using the online cost to build a house calculator in Canada.

The size of the home also depends on the type of home being built. For example, a single-family detached home typically has square footage than a townhouse or a condominium.

The average townhouse size in Canada recently is approximately 1,800 ft2, while the average size of a condominium is around 900 ft2.

The homeowner’s needs and preferences can also influence the size of the home. For instance, a family with children may require more space than a single person or a couple without children.

Factors such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas can contribute to the home’s overall size.

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Factors that affect the cost of building a house

Building a house in Canada is a significant investment that requires careful consideration of various factors that affect the cost. Below are some primary factors influencing the cost of building a house in Canada:

The cost of land

The land cost varies significantly from tens to hundreds of thousands, depending on the location, size, and zoning restrictions.

Buying land in an urban or suburban area tends to be more expensive than in rural areas due to the high demand. Consider buying land in an up-and-coming neighbourhood or outside the city centre to save on land costs.

After purchasing the site, you may also have to remove trees, rocks, and other obstructions to build the foundation. You may need to install power, water, and sewage systems in the area.

The overall cost depends on several things, like the land, the market, the time of year, and more.

The house location

The house’s location affects the cost of building a house in Canada. Urban or suburban areas tend to have higher building costs than rural areas due to the higher demand for materials and labour.

Building codes and zoning regulations may vary by region, adding to the total cost.

Furthermore, you also want to consider accessibility to utilities and services. The location determines how conveniently you can access water, sewer, electricity, and gas.

Consider building in a region with lower building code requirements to save on construction costs.

Your choice of contractor

The choice of contractor is a crucial factor that affects the total cost of building a house in Canada.

The labour cost varies significantly depending on the expertise needed, the contractor’s experience, qualifications, and reputation. Also, different contractors may charge different rates for the same project, and the quality of their work may vary.

When selecting a contractor, getting multiple quotes and asking for references are essential to choosing a reputable, cost-effective contractor.

Additionally, you should have a written agreement outlining the scope of work, payment schedule, and warranty. This way, you can ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget while maintaining the desired quality of work.

Materials you plan to use

The choice of building materials is a significant factor that can significantly impact the overall cost of building a house in Canada.

Every material selected during the building process has a price; opting for high-quality materials often comes with a higher tag. For example, choosing copper pipes, granite countertops, and brick exteriors can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to a job.

Consider their durability and longevity to maximize your materials’ value. Additionally, choosing high-quality but cost-effective materials can help save on building costs.

Construction costs

Construction costs for building a house in Canada vary significantly depending on labour and materials. Providing an accurate cost estimate with specific information about the build is easier.

Some essential elements that affect the cost include the basement foundation, roof and shingles, windows and doors, cabinets, flooring, lights, electrical systems, and landscaping.

The cost of labour, materials, and customization level will determine each element’s labour and material costs.

To budget for construction costs, get multiple quotes from contractors and suppliers and put aside 10–20% for unexpected costs. Careful planning and budgeting can keep building costs within budget and ensure quality.

House type and size you want

The type and size of the house are significant factors that affect the overall cost of building a house in Canada. Additionally, the house’s design complexity can impact the building cost. Amenities such as a pool, veranda, or deck can add to the cost of building.

Therefore, choosing an efficient, straightforward house design to keep building costs low is essential. When planning your house, consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed.

Opting for a more subtle design and avoiding extravagant amenities can help to save on building costs.

Fees and permits

When building a house in Canada, getting the proper permits and paying the right fees is important.

These include building permits, impact fees, and development charges, which can add to the overall cost of building a house. The cost of permits varies by city and province and can add significantly to the overall cost of building a house.

Researching and budgeting for these costs in advance is vital to avoid any surprises during construction. Failing to obtain the necessary permits and pay the required fees can result in fines or even the demolition of the house.

To ensure a smooth construction process, municipal and provincial building laws must be followed.

Can you get a mortgage to build a house?

Building your dream home can be an exciting yet expensive process. You’ll likely need to finance your new home through a mortgage unless you have significant cash. Luckily, most financial institutions offer new construction loans or mortgages to help you bring your vision to life.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Construction loans differ from traditional mortgages. They usually come with a higher interest rate and are delivered in stages through a “progress draw mortgage.”
  • With a progress draw mortgage, an inspector visits the construction site at each stage to assess progress. If everything checks out, the lender will release the next funding tranche.
  • A construction mortgage may require a 20% down payment of the total build cost. However, lending requirements vary, so you must inform a mortgage broker or bank early to determine your eligibility.
  • There are two types of construction mortgages: completion mortgages and draw or progress-draw mortgages. With completion mortgages, the loan is transferred once the construction is complete. Draw or progress-draw mortgages involve the builder drawing money in increments as the home is built.
  • Obtaining a loan to build a home is more complicated than a traditional mortgage. Vacant land is an unsecured asset, which means the loan typically comes with higher interest rates than a conventional mortgage. The lender may also require a larger down payment, ranging between 25% and 30%.

Where to get a mortgage to build a house

When financing your dream home, it’s essential to research and make the right financial decision. Talking to a mortgage broker or bank can help you navigate the process and find the best option to fit your needs.

Now that you know more about construction mortgages, it’s time to consider which lender might be right for you.

Here are a few options:

  • BMO Mortgages: BMO offers construction mortgages with competitive rates and flexible repayment options. Check out BMO Mortgages.
  • Neo Mortgage: Neo specializes in digital mortgages and offers construction financing for up to 18 months. Visit Neo Mortgage.
  • Nesto: Nesto is an online mortgage broker that can help you find the best construction mortgage rates from various lenders. Check out Nesto’s rates.

How long does it take to build a house?

How long it takes to create a new house in Canada depends on its size, design, and whether it’s custom or conventional.

A conventional home usually takes seven to nine months to design and build, while a custom home can take up to two years. Delays are anticipated due to weather conditions, material shortages, financing issues, and contractor availability.

According to industry experts, building a house in Canada takes 10 to 16 months, assuming everything goes as planned. However, this estimate does not include clearing the land or tearing down an existing home.

It must also account for weather, human resource shortages, material delays, or decision-making issues.

It is essential to remember that building a home is a complex process, and unexpected problems can arise, causing delays.

Therefore, it’s best to work with your builder or contractor to set a realistic timeline and monitor delays. You can help your home-building job stay on track and finish on time with proper planning, communication, and flexibility.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house in Canada?

To decide whether to accept or build a house, consider finances and lifestyle. Building may save money, but consulting with a builder and real estate agent is essential for an accurate cost estimate.

The building is also stressful, so ensure you have the mental and emotional capacity to handle any issues.

However, if building a house fits your lifestyle and budget, it can be a rewarding experience.

Alternative to building a house in Canada

If you want a new home but don’t have time, money, or resources, there are other choices. One option is purchasing a newly constructed home in a subdivision.

This route allows you to buy a new home without much hassle, which can be upgraded and customized with certain features you like.

You can also opt for home renovations and rent-to-own homes. Rent-to-own lets renters use a portion of their rent to buy their rented homes. Also, you can significantly cut costs by remodelling an existing house or tearing down small homes on large lots.

How much does it cost to build a house conclusion

Knowing how much it costs to build a house in Canada is vital if you plan to own a home one day. However, remember that although building a home can prove affordable, it also comes with its fair share of challenges.

So you must plan and educate yourself on the building process. This planning is crucial to making informed decisions and avoiding potential issues.

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FAQs about how much does it cost to build a house in Canada

How much does it cost to build a house in Ontario?

The cost of building a house in Ontario varies depending on several factors, such as location, size, materials, and design. On average, it ranges from $120 to $250 per square foot.

How to build a house?

There are many steps to building a house, like getting a building permit, designing the house, hiring contractors, and getting money. It's recommended to consult with professionals and plan accordingly.

Can you build a guest house in your backyard in Ontario?

Yes, you can build a guest house in your backyard in Ontario. But you have to follow the rules about zoning, get a building permit, and meet other requirements.

Can I legally build my own house in Canada?

Yes, you can legally build your own house in Canada. But you must follow building codes, get a permit, and follow zoning rules and other applicable laws.

Can I buy land in Canada and build a house?

Yes, you can buy land in Canada and build a house. However, you must research the land's zoning, utilities, and other factors and comply with local building codes and regulations.


April 5, 2023
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