Build a Townhouse Cost

How much does it cost to build a townhouse property?

There are many variables in such a question. For one thing, townhouses can be independent single-story structures in a housing project, or they can be buildings containing one or more two-story homes. For the purpose of this discussion we will look at a standard townhouse structure containing two single-family dwellings of two stories each, and which share a common wall. According to real estate statistics, the size of the average single townhouse as described above is 2200 square feet which assumes a "footprint" of approximately 30'x35' per home.

The building of a townhouse cannot be a "DIY" project and requires an architect, a knowledgeable contractor, a team of subcontractors, and a cooperative owner to get the job done in a suitable period of time.

For the building of a townhouse with two units, the typical costs include:

  • With mid-range materials, a normal foundation with full basement, an accessible attic, efficient doors and windows, all appliances, and "turnkey" finishing the project would cost an average of $261,465 per unit, or $522,900 to complete the entire building. This does not include acquisition of the building lot however.
  • The above figures place this construction at a $119 per square foot cost, though national average stands between $85 to $125 for most commercial or multiple unit projects. This pricing structure is built on a fee base that indicates carpenters, masons and excavators charging an average of $70 per hour, electricians between $65 to $85 per hour, painters between $20 and $35 per hour and plumbers between $45 and $65 per hour.
  • This sort of building, however, could not necessarily come in at a simple cost of $85 per square foot due simply to the excessive amount of construction required on the interior spaces. The materials for a two-story unit of wooden construction, with two townhouses, would cost $258,500, labor would cost roughly $251,400, machine costs would stand at roughly $13,100 and the contractor would take in over $74,000 for the project. This excludes land acquisition and site improvements like parking, gardens and play areas.

Cost breakout

What is included:

The basic structure of this project would be best if left in an uncomplicated "four square" design. Most developers rely on both an architect and a contractor, and the architect will require an additional fee of approximately 10 - 17% of the total building budget;

  • An architect will:
    • Determine the scope of the project and establish a preliminary budget;
    • Draft list of proposed work, budget, and outline of plans;
    • Create the schematic design and draft floor plans with elevation drawings. Then work with any structural engineers and meet with planning agencies to verify any requirements;
    • Finalize drawings and incorporate all details about materials and finishes, any fixtures or equipment, and all systems in the structure;
    • Serve as the manager and review the plans with any required local agencies while also obtaining necessary permits;
    • Serve in an advisory capacity to select a contractor and help the client through the bid review process as well;
    • Administer the construction, ensure that contractor's requests for payments are accurate and that all "final" details are corrected or finished by the contractor; and
    • Based on figures given the architect on this project would receive from $52,200 to $88,900 for their services.
  • A contractor will:
    • Provide the services and materials required for the entire job;
    • Hire subcontractors according to need;
    • Suggest plans and ideas to owner to help them meet goals;
    • Deliver final cleanup of entire home;
    • Pull all permits for work and utility installation; and
    • For doing all of the day to day management of the project the average contractor earns around $85 per square foot. They might also "mark up" supplies and services as well. For example, on the average townhouse construction described here the contractor might account for roughly $66,600 in markup and indirect fees.
  • A general townhouse construction project will cover:
    • Bath fixtures
    • Built In Appliances
    • Cabinets
    • Carpeting
    • Countertops
    • Doors
    • Excavation
    • Exterior Finish
    • Exterior Trim
    • Final Cleanup
    • Finish Carpentry
    • Finish Hardware
    • Flooring
    • Foundation, Piers, Flatwork
    • Heating and Cooling Systems
    • Insulation
    • Insurance
    • Interior Wall Finish
    • Lighting Fixtures
    • Painting
    • Permits & Utilities
    • Plans & Specs
    • Plumbing Fixtures
    • Plumbing Rough-in and Connection
    • Roofing, Flashing, Fascia
    • Rough Carpentry
    • Rough Hardware
    • Unit Heating and Cooling
    • Windows
    • Wiring
    • and more