How Much Does It Cost to Build an Apartment Building?

Average range: $4.5-$50 million​
Average Cost
(5-story, 50-unit mid-rise apartment building)

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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by

Apartments and multi-family residential buildings are good investments for many people. According to the Census, the number of people living in apartments has grown, with more than ⅓ of all households now living in apartments. For this reason, many builders and investors are considering building new apartment buildings.

The term apartment can be applied in many different ways, from a small owner-occupied stick-built building to a major high-rise with 30 stories and 20 units per floor.

This means that the cost to build an apartment building has an enormous range. The national average cost to build an apartment building is between $4.5 and $50 million, with most people paying around $10.5 million for a 5-story mid-rise apartment building with a total of 50 units.

Apartment Building Cost

Apartment building prices
National average cost$10.5 million​
Average range$4.5-$50 million​
Minimum cost$901,300​
Maximum cost$100 million​

Build Apartment Cost by Project Range

Duplex apartment building with basic materials
Average Cost
5-story, 50-unit mid-rise apartment building
Luxury high-rise apartment building with 100 units

Apartment Construction Cost Per Square Foot

When building an apartment building, multiple cost factors come together to form the final total. One of these is the construction cost, which is usually calculated per square foot. This cost does not include the finishing, architect or contractor fees, land purchase, landscaping, parking lots, and many of the interior and “soft” costs like designing, material selection, and delivery.

Apartment construction costs per square foot vary both by location and structure type. Small apartment buildings with five or fewer units have lower construction costs per foot than mid-rise buildings, which have lower costs per square foot than high-rise apartments.

There is some overlap and variation, depending on whether this is a luxury, mid-range, or builder-grade apartment building. The total cost range per square foot to build an apartment building is between $85 and $400 a square foot, with an average cost of $229 a square foot.

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Apartment Construction Costs Per Unit

Another factor in determining the apartment building’s total cost is to look at the cost per unit. This does not include the costs of building the entire structure or any architect or contractor fees, but it includes the materials, building, and finishing of each unit. Like construction costs, there is a range of costs per unit, which is dependent on the size, whether this is a luxury unit or mid-range, and building location.

The average cost range per unit is between $74,970 and $352,400, with $201,978 per unit being the average, including all appliances, finishes, and energy-efficient windows and doors.

Apartment Building Cost by Type

The type of apartment building you construct has an impact on the total costs, mostly on the cost per square foot for construction. Larger buildings use different building methods that increase costs.

Apartment buildings come in many different shapes and sizes, which also impacts costs. The more corners and different shapes a building has, the higher the construction prices. The number of units and overall size of the building also plays a role. Below are some of the most common types of apartment buildings and their average cost per square foot.

Apartment Building Cost

Apartment Building Cost

Apartment Building TypeAverage Construction Cost per Sq. Ft.

Infill Cost

An infill apartment building is a general term for stick-built apartment homes, including duplexes, triplexes, “six-packs,” or walk-up apartments. These apartment buildings typically resemble single-family homes in architecture and style and are timber-built. Depending on the size, they have construction costs of $85 - $175 per square foot and can have up to 6 apartments in one building, although the average is 2 - 4.

Low-rise Apartment Building Cost

A low-rise apartment building usually has 4 or less stories and is usually made of wood construction. It is sometimes called a 3-over-1 style building. It can have 5 - 50 units and usually has elevators as well as two stairwells and a double-sided corridor. They cost $150 - $225 a square foot to build.

Mid-rise Apartment Building Cost

Mid-rise apartment buildings are larger and usually made of wood on concrete or with a steel podium. They can be up to 12 stories, but most are 10 or under. They have 50 to 200 units, with double-sided corridors, elevators, and multiple egresses. It is not uncommon for these apartment complexes to have an apartment gym, concierge, and other amenities. They may also have mixed uses, with retail stores on the lower level. They cost $175 - $250 a square foot to build.

High-rise Apartment Building Cost

High-rise apartment buildings are subject to zoning laws, which dictate exactly how high they can be. They have a tower footprint and are built of concrete and steel. They are always over 12 stories, and many are 20, 30, or 40 stories high. They can have 4 - 20 units per floor, usually a mix of different sizes of studios, one bedrooms, and two bedrooms. They often have gyms, pools, concierge, and other amenities in the building. Due to their height, it is important for high-rise buildings to be designed to resist the lateral forces inflicted by strong winds and potential earthquakes. They cost $225 - $400+ a square foot to build. Roughly every 10 stories increases the cost to build.

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Multi-family Apartment Construction Cost Per Story

Apartment buildings typically become more expensive to build the larger they get. This is partly because the number of units that fit per story increases with the building size, but the materials also change. So there is no one per-story cost or range, but rather different costs per square foot and total ranges based on the approximate size of the finished building. Below is a general idea of costs based on the number of stories. These numbers are an approximate average range, and the actual figures vary depending on multiple factors:

Apartment Building Cost Chart

Apartment Building Cost Chart

Number of StoriesCost per Square FootAverage Range of Total Costs
3-Story$85-$225$3.1-$3.4 million
4-Story$150-$225$4.5-$5.5 million
5-Story$175-$250$7-$12.5 million
6-Story$175-$250$8.5-$14.5 million
10-Story$175-$250$10.5-$16.5 million
15-Story$225-$400+$20-$35 million
20-Story$225-$400+$25-$50 million
30-Story$225-$400+$35-$75 million
40-Story$225-$400+$50-$150 million
50-Story$225-$400+$75-$250 million

Cost to Build a 3-Story Building

3-story apartment buildings are most likely wood, with a brick or stone veneer, so their building costs are generally lower. Assuming 2 - 4 units per floor, this would cost $3.1 - $3.4 million to complete.

Cost to Build a 4-Story Building

4-story buildings are likely to be partially wood with a brick or stone veneer, if not entirely made of wood. Costs begin to climb for the extra structural support needed. Assuming 4 units per floor, this would have a cost of between $4.5 and $5.5 million to complete.

Cost to Build a 5-Story Building

5-story buildings have a higher cost range than 4 stories, with added units, materials, and construction fees. They also typically have more units per floor at this height, with buildings sometimes achieving as many as 200 for very sprawling complexes. They have an average range of between $7 - $12.5 million.

Cost to Build a 6-Story Building

6-story buildings also fall into the same cost category as 5-story buildings, with added units and construction costs. They range from $8.5 to $14.5 million to complete on average.

Cost to Build a 10-Story Building

At this point, your structural needs begin to change. This is still considered a mid-rise structure, but you need to start incorporating steel for added support. You also have more units and potentially more units per floor for a cost of between $10.5 and $16.5 million on average.

Cost to Build a 15-Story Building

At 15 stories, you are subject to zoning laws, as well as different materials, construction types, and more professionals adding their costs. This means a range from $20 to $35 million on average.

Cost to Build a 20-Story Building

20-story buildings have the same cost per square foot as 15 stories and use the same structural materials. Because they are larger, they have higher overall fees, with costs between $25 and $50 million on average.

Cost to Build a 30-Story Building

The same cost per square foot of 15 and 20-story buildings applies to 30-story buildings. The larger number of units and extra materials and labor add to the cost. These properties cost $35 - $75 million to complete on average.

Cost to Build a 40-Story Building

40-story buildings have the same cost per square foot as 15, 20, and 30-story structures. They use the same materials but have more units, material needs, and labor needs. They cost between $50 and $150 million to complete on average.

Cost to Build a 50-Story Building

At this size, most residential buildings fall into the luxury status, which adds even more costs to the building. The cost per square foot and the unit and labor costs overlap with the costs of 15, 20, and 30-story buildings, but finishing costs are at a higher rate, bumping some of the costs to $400 a square foot or higher. Expect starting costs to be between $75 and $250 million.

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Apartment Building Cost by Number of Units

Apartment buildings can have a wide range of units, which vary in size and scale. It is common for one building to have a mixture of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments of different sizes. Therefore, the number of units can often be a poor measurement of the total cost of an apartment building. A large building can have fewer luxury apartments that are all two bedrooms and cost a lot more than a much smaller building with the same number of units that are a mix of studio and one-bedroom units that are mid-range in finish. Therefore, the cost range per number of units in a building can be enormous.

Below is the average range for apartment buildings by unit. This is a very broad range, so you need more parameters to narrow this down.

Apartment Building Costs for 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20.. Units

Apartment Building Costs for 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20.. Units

Number of UnitsAverage Cost Range
4-Unit$1-$3.5 million
6-Unit$3.1-$14.5 million
8-Unit$3.1-$15.5 million
12-Unit$3.1-$16.5 million
16-Unit$3.1 - $18 million
20-Unit$3.1-$20 million
24-Unit$3.1-$25 million
50-Unit$7-$50 million
100-Unit$20-$150 million

Cost to Build a 4-Unit Apartment Building

A 4-unit building could have 1 - 4 stories, depending on how it is laid out. It costs between $1 - $3.5 million.

Cost to Build a 6-Unit Apartment Building

A 6-unit building typically has at least 3 floors but could have more, depending on the apartment sizes and how luxurious the building is. Expect average costs of between $3.1 and $14.5 million.

8-Unit Apartment Building Cost

The cost to build an 8-unit apartment building is between 3.1 and 15.5 million. An apartment building of this size could have between 3 and 6 stories. At this size, it’s common to start mixing various sizes of apartments on each floor.

Cost to Build a 12-Unit Apartment Building

A 12-unit building could have 3 to 6 stories and has a cost range of between $3.1 and $16.5 million, depending on the scope, scale, and materials.

Cost to Build a 16-Unit Apartment Complex

A 16-unit apartment building will cost between $3.1 and $18 million. Units of this size may have between 4 and 10 stories. They will also usually have a wide mix of apartment sizes, and potentially some luxury units.

Cost to Build a 20-Unit Apartment Building

20-unit buildings are 4 to 10 stories on average, making their average cost range between $3.1 and $20 million.

Cost to Build a 24-Unit Apartment Building

A building that houses this many units could be anywhere from 4 to 10 stories, giving it a cost range of $3.1 to $25 million on average.

Cost to Build a 50-Unit Apartment Building

At 50 units, you are officially in a mid-rise apartment building, so your costs increase. If this is a luxury building, it could be more than 12 stories, making it a high-rise, costing between $7 and $50 million.

Cost to Build a 100-Unit Apartment Building

A 100-unit building can be many different sizes from a mid-rise of 5 floors to a luxury high-rise apartment complex. The cost range is between $20 and $150 million.

Prefab Apartment Building Cost

Given the popularity of high-rise apartment complexes in urban areas, many construction firms turn to modular or prefab building design to cut costs. This can be a much less expensive method of building, lowering the construction cost per square foot and reducing many of the additional “soft” costs like designer fees. Expect the average cost per square foot for a prefab apartment building to start at about $125 a square foot. This also applies to high-rise buildings, making them much more affordable.

Modern Apartment Buildings

Apartment Building Construction Cost Breakdown

Many variables determine the overall cost of an apartment building, including materials and labor and the cost of an architect, general contractor or builder, and structural engineer.

Every project is different, but this is a basic breakdown of the costs. This includes the labor and materials for each section as a percentage of the total project cost. Architect, designer, and builder fees are in addition to the total cost to build.

  • Architect fees - 8.9% - 10% of the total cost (added)
  • Structural engineer fees - $500 - $20,000 as needed (added)
  • Contractor or builder cost - 25% of the total cost (added)
  • Foundation 9%
  • Floor structure - 12%
  • Walls (wood) and exterior finish - 6% - 10%
  • Roof and cover - 10%
  • Windows and doors - 5%
  • Interior finish - 6% - 10%
  • Floor finish - 3% - 5%
  • Interior features - 3% - 5%
  • Bath detail - 4%
  • Kitchen - 8%
  • Electrical - 10%
  • Plumbing - 12%
  • Masonry walls (if used instead of wood) - 9% - 12%

Factors Affecting the Cost of Constructing an Apartment Building

Numerous factors influence the final cost of constructing an apartment building. These include the unit sizes, number of units, overall structure size, materials used, and many additional factors.

Location is one of those additional factors. Cities and urban areas typically have higher construction costs than other areas, influencing the total cost per square foot. In addition, the layout or floor plan of the building also impacts the project cost. The more elaborate the floor plan, the higher the costs.

Some apartments have mixed uses. They may include offices or storefronts, and many also offer areas like pools, gyms, social areas, and lobbies. The more amenities a building has, the higher the overall construction costs. For these reasons, the only way to get a true project cost would be to contact a builder or architect specializing in this work.

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Average Maintenance Cost for an Apartment Complex

There is a wide range of associated maintenance costs for apartment complexes. The materials used, number of units, and unit type all play a role in how much maintenance costs.

Monthly maintenance fees range from $50 to $1,000 a month for each building, and many have varying monthly costs, depending on the needs of the building at that time.

Modern apartment complex

Cost of Owning an Apartment Complex

There is also a wide range of costs associated with owning an apartment complex. The building size, number of occupants, building conditions at the time of the sale, building materials, and location all play a role in the ownership cost.

Also, owning an apartment complex is considered a source of income. Meaning that rather than paying out each month, you take in money that is over and above your operating expenses and the cost to purchase the building, assuming a competitive loan rate. The cost of owning the complex should be between about 20% and 50% of the money brought in by the complex.

Single-family vs Multi-family Investment

When building or purchasing an apartment or rental property as an investment, consider the investment costs of a single-family versus a multi-family residence. With a single-family investment, you purchase a house that you rent to others. If the tenants leave and you have difficulty rerenting it, you will not see a return on your investment during that time, but you still have the maintenance and ownership costs.

With a multi-family investment, you have multiple renters, so if a unit is vacant or a tenant is late with their rent, you take in enough income to cover the property expenses.

Single-family investments usually involve less money upfront but are also less likely to be easily financed. Multi-family investments cost more upfront, but because of the multiple income streams, most banks front the costs more readily.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Cost to Build Luxury Apartments

A luxury apartment is a high-end apartment that includes everything one could ever want or need. They are large and spacious and located in great locations. They have first-class appliances and equipment, a concierge, on-site parking, and numerous amenities, like movie theaters, fitness centers, or spas. The cost to build a luxury apartment starts at around $400 a square foot and goes up, rather than the average of $229 a square foot.

Cost to Build a Parking Garage

Most apartment buildings will have above ground parking, with lot sizes that allow for a minimum of one car per unit. Some may have lots that allow two or more cars per unit. Costs per space are between $24,000 and $25,000 for most parking garages, while surface lot costs can be lower at $3 to $7 a square foot.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • It is difficult to provide absolute numbers for apartment buildings because there are varying costs based on location as well as size and material. Areas with housing booms also have higher costs.
  • To get a good estimate, developers look for similarities and differences in their estimate to other projects of the same relative scale to ensure their numbers align with local averages. Therefore, it can be hard to come up with an absolute budget quickly.
  • Understand the needs of the area before building, including vacancy rates, rents, and your competitors.
  • You do not need a real estate license to own an apartment building, but you may need to hire a manager to oversee the property.
  • The 2% rule in real estate recommends that the rent from a property be equal to 2% of its total cost.
  • Pay attention to the amenities you plan on including and the return on investment. Consider the trends of your potential tenants and what they expect to be included based on the rent cost. Amenities require space and maintenance, so you will need to make sure they provide the return you are looking for.


  • How much does an apartment complex cost?

This has a wide range of factors that influence it, including the size, location, age, and condition. It could be anywhere from $3 to $200 million.

  • Is an apartment building a good investment?

In most cases, yes, having multiple income streams can produce a very high return on investment.

  • Do apartments hold their value?

As long as they are kept in good condition, they hold and increase in value.

  • Why do apartment prices fluctuate daily?

This is mostly due to market demand. The more renters in a market, the higher the cost, while the fewer renters, the lower the cost.

  • How much does it cost to build a studio apartment?

Average costs to build a single apartment unit start at around $65,000. Studio apartments may cost less depending on size and location - some very small studio apartments may be built for less, but luxury studios may cost more.

  • How many units are in an apartment complex on average?

This will vary tremendously based on the size of the complex, and the size of the units. It’s not uncommon for a complex to have a mix of differently sized apartments. A small complex may have 10 apartments, while a large complex could have 100 or more apartments spread throughout multiple buildings.


Cost to build an apartment building varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources