How much does it cost to build a house in North Carolina?
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Build a House in North Carolina Cost Guide
Updated: September 21, 2022
North Carolina is a beautiful and diverse state with mountain and coastal regions and several large and populous cities. North Carolina is a friendly state and a good place to live and build your home. There has been a shortage of existing homes in North Carolina over the last few years, leading more people to consider building their own. With numerous locations around the state featuring different climates, it is easy to find an area that will suit your needs and desires.
The state average cost to build a home in North Carolina is $420,000 to $630,000, with most homeowners spending around $525,000 for a 2,100 sq.ft. Georgian-style Federal home using good-quality materials and traditional building methods. This project’s low cost is $187,500 for a 1,500 sq.ft. bungalow using mid-grade materials and built with modular technology. The high cost for this project is $1,500,000 for a 3,000 sq.ft. fully custom Southern Plantation-style home built with high-quality materials using traditional building methods.
Cost to Build a House in North Carolina
|Average Cost to Build a Home in North Carolina|
|National average cost||$525,000|
|Average range||$420,000 - $630,000|
Cost to Build a Home in North Carolina by Type
Homes built in North Carolina can be constructed using one of two methods - stick-built and modular. The first, stick building, is the most common in the region and the most traditional. With this style, your home is built on the site from the ground up. This is generally the more expensive method of building a home, but it allows for more flexibility because you can make changes during the building process.
The second method is modular building, where the home is primarily built off-site and then transferred to its final location for the finishing work. This method is both faster and less expensive than stick-building. However, it is more restrictive because changes cannot be made once the build begins.
Both home types can be done using existing or custom designs. Custom homes will be more expensive using both building types, while existing plans will be less expensive. Both types give you a wide range of different home styles, influencing the final project cost. Below are the average costs to build a home in North Carolina using the two methods.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Modular||$100 - $250|
|Stick-Built||$160 - $550|
Cost per Square Foot to Build a House in NC
The total average cost to build a new home in North Carolina ranges from $100 to $550 a sq.ft. Custom homes tend to be the most expensive, while homes built from existing plans are typically the least costly. Homes in North Carolina are likely to include features like large and wrap-around porches, columns, and many windows. For this reason, costs can be higher for many popular home styles. The average size of a new home built in the area is 2,100 sq.ft., with many new homes averaging 2,600 sq.ft. However, it is possible to build much smaller homes, particularly in the mountains and more rural areas of the state, and to build much larger homes.
Because so many homes in North Carolina feature things like oversized porches, some builders quote costs per heated square foot, at around $200 to $300 per heated sq.ft. being the average, meaning that the total footprint of the home may not be taken into consideration. Below are the average costs to build a home in North Carolina based on some of the common home sizes using both building methods.
|Size||Cost to Build (Modular)||Cost to Build (Stick-Built)|
|800 sq.ft.||$80K - $200K||$128K - $440K|
|900 sq.ft.||$90K - $225K||$144K - $495K|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$100K - $250K||$160K - $550K|
|1,200 sq.ft.||$120K - $300K||$192K - $660K|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$150K - $375K||$240K - $825K|
|1,800 sq.ft.||$180K - $450K||$288K - $990K|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$200K - $500K||$320K - $1.1M|
|2,100 sq.ft.||$210K - $525K||$336K - $1.155M|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$250K - $625K||$400K - $1.375M|
|2,600 sq.ft.||$260K - $650K||$416K - $1.43M|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$300K - $750K||$480K - $1.65M|
|3,500 sq.ft.||$350K - $875K||$560K - $1.925M|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$400K - $1M||$640K - $2.2M|
|5,000 sq.ft.||$500K - $1.25M||$800K - $2.75M|
Average Cost to Build a House in NC by Number of Bedrooms
Most homes built today in North Carolina have between 3 and 4 bedrooms. However, it is possible to build homes with fewer bedrooms. In general, smaller homes have fewer bedrooms than larger homes. However, there can be some overlap, depending on the home layout. You may have more bedrooms in a smaller space by changing the size of the various rooms. But generally, the more bedrooms you add to a home, the larger it typically is. This means that 3 and 4-bedroom homes tend to be more expensive than 1 or 2-bedroom homes. Below are the average costs to build a new home in North Carolina with varying numbers of bedrooms using both building methods.
|Number of Bedrooms||Cost to Build (Modular)||Cost to Build (Stick-Built)|
|1 Bedroom||$80K - $250K||$128K - $550K|
|2 Bedrooms||$100K - $450K||$160K - $990K|
|3 Bedrooms||$180K - $625K||$288K - $1.38M|
|4 Bedrooms||$250K - $1.25M||$400K - $2.75M|
Average Price to Build a House in NC by Number of Stories
Homes in North Carolina most commonly have 2 or 3 stories, depending on their layout. However, there are also numerous bungalows and ranches in the state that have single-floor layouts. In general, the average cost per square foot to build a single-story home will be higher than the cost to build a 2-story home of the same square footage. For example, a 2,000 sq.ft. ranch will likely be more expensive than a 2,000 sq.ft. farmhouse. This is because it is generally less expensive to build up rather than out due to the cost of the roof and foundation of the home. However, because of these costs, it is also more common for larger homes to have more stories than smaller homes, meaning homes with 1 story tend to be smaller and less expensive on average. Below are the average costs to build a home in North Carolina based on the average home size associated with that number of stories using both building methods.
|Number of Stories||Cost to Build (Modular)||Cost to Build (Stick-Built)|
|1 Story||$80K - $450K||$128K - $990K|
|2 Stories||$150K - $625K||$240K - $1.38M|
|3 Stories||$250K - $1.25M||$400K - $2.75M|
Cost of Building a House in North Carolina by Style
There are many popular home styles in North Carolina. The most common include modern colonials, Federal and Georgian colonials, Southern Plantation homes, Victorians, bungalows, ranches, and coastal homes. Depending on where you are in the state, you may also see Cape Cods, farmhouses, and cottages. Depending on the exact town or city you are in, you may also see tiny homes, with some areas of the state being very tiny home friendly.
Each home style has its own costs to build due partly to the size. Bungalows and Capes are much smaller than Victorians and Southern Plantation homes. In other cases, the home style and architecture influence costs, with coastal, Victorians, and Southern Plantation-style homes having higher costs per square foot in many situations than other home styles. Below are the average costs to build a home in North Carolina by its style using both building methods.
|Style||Cost to Build (Modular)||Cost to Build (Stick-Built)|
|Tiny House||$33K - $80K||$50K - $125K|
|Cottage||$60K - $500K||$96K - $1.1M|
|Bungalow||$150K - $500K||$240K - $1.1M|
|Cape Cod||$150K - $500K||$240K - $1.1M|
|Ranch||$150K - $500K||$240K - $1.1M|
|Georgian / Federal Colonial||$200K - $750K||$320K - $1.65M|
|Farmhouse||$200K - $750K||$320K - $1.65M|
|Modern Colonial||$200K - $750K||$320K - $1.65M|
|Coastal||$250K - $875K||$400K - $1.93M|
|Victorian||$250K - $875K||$400K - $1.93M|
|Southern Plantation||$300K - $1M||$560K - $2.2M|
Home Building Cost Breakdown (North Carolina)
Many areas are involved in building a home, and each contributes to the total project costs. This is true of any home in North Carolina. All homes have some prep work, including land clearing, permits, and drawings, as well as foundations, framing, major systems installation, and finishing work. In North Carolina, these have a wide range of costs because homes may be built in areas that need a lot of prep work and clearing and in areas that may need reinforcement of framing, roofing, and exteriors due to the threat of hurricanes and other storms. This, combined with the home style and materials used, can impact your final costs. Below is a typical cost breakdown of a 2,100 sq.ft. home built in North Carolina using traditional stick-building methods. Modular homes are constructed differently and have a different set of costs.
|Category||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Prep Work||$33.6K - $50.4K|
|Foundation||$46.2K - $69.3K|
|Roofing||$50.4K - $75.6K|
|Major Systems Installations||$63K - $94.5K|
|Framing||$71.4K - $107.1K|
|Exterior Finishing||$71.4K - $107.1K|
|Interior Finishing||$84K - $126K|
Labor Cost to Build a House in North Carolina
Many different professionals work on your new home. In most cases, you will work directly with a builder or design/build firm to design and build your home. The builder or firm will then contract with various professionals who will work on the home. The costs for these professionals vary depending on the materials used and the area of North Carolina you live in. In some parts of the state, you may find that labor can be higher, particularly in larger cities and more densely populated areas. Labor costs may be lower if you are building in a more rural part of the state. Below are the most common professionals who will work on your new home and their average hourly costs in North Carolina.
|Professional||Labor Cost per Hour|
|Painters||$30 - $50|
|Landscapers||$35 - $135|
|General Contractors||$35 - $150|
|Carpenters||$40 - $80|
|Electricians||$40 - $85|
|Roofers||$50 - $80|
|Flooring Installers||$60 - $120|
|Plumbers||$65 - $160|
|Concrete Workers / Brick Layers||$75 - $125|
|HVAC Technicians||$75 - $150|
|Structural Engineers||$100 - $200|
|Architects||$125 - $250|
Average Cost to Build a House in North Carolina by Location
North Carolina is a large and diverse state that has both mountain regions and coastal areas. It also has several large cities. For this reason, there can be some fluctuation in the average cost to build a home across the state. In some areas, the fluctuation can be minor from town to town, while in other areas, you could have a more extreme cost fluctuation. Generally, standard homes cost less than custom homes, regardless of the area. Homes on the coast tend to cost more because you need things like hurricane-proof windows, increasing the costs of the entire project. Homes built inland may have slightly lower costs. Below are some of the costs per square foot to build a new home in various parts of the state.
|City||Cost to Build per Sq.Ft.|
|Charlotte||$150 - $450|
|Asheville||$150 - $550|
|Raleigh||$169 - $300|
|Wilmington||$200 - $500|
|Oak Island||$200 - $550|
|Hendersonville||$220 - $550|
Barndominium Prices in North Carolina
Barndominiums are becoming a more popular method of building homes in many states, including North Carolina. They use a basic pole barn as the home shell, so they have lower construction costs than homes built on a foundation. A barndominium in North Carolina costs around $180 to $190 a sq.ft. complete with custom interiors. While this can be more expensive than a standard home built in the same region, you can upgrade the interiors of a barndominium for less than the cost of a similar home standard-built in the same state. This is also considerably less than the cost of custom homes built in the area and can allow more freedom to customize the property.
How Much Are Building Permits in North Carolina?
Building permits in North Carolina vary depending on the home size. All homes up to 1,500 sq.ft. cost $240 in building permit fees. Homes over this size cost $240 in initial fees, plus $0.20 a sq.ft. for every foot over 1,500 sq.ft. So for a typical 2,100 sq.ft. home, the average cost of a building permit would be $360. Your builder may have additional fees related to the permit, but this varies by town and region. If you are unsure of what your fees will be, speak to your local municipality for more information.
Building vs Buying a House in North Carolina
The costs of building and buying an existing home in North Carolina have both increased in recent years. Costs to purchase an existing home tend to be slightly higher than the costs of building if you are not building a custom property. There has been a shortage of homes in North Carolina in recent years, which can make buying difficult, stressful, and potentially more costly. However, when purchasing a home, you can generally move in within a short time. Building a home can take more than a year and may have unforeseen contingencies that can increase costs. However, building a home allows you to get the layout, features, and size you want for the property. Buying means you need to select from what is currently available. For these reasons, while most people purchase an existing home, many people have been turning to building in the last few years to help get the property they want.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
It is very common to hire an interior designer when building a new home unless you are already working with a design/build firm. Interior designers work with your builder or architect to help plan the layout of your home. This helps you make the most of your square footage and may even save costs. It is common to involve an interior designer in North Carolina at some stage of the project. The average cost is $50 to $450 an hour.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Shipping container homes. Shipping container homes are made from recycled materials, with the home shell built from old containers. This helps lower your project costs. The average shipping container home in North Carolina is around $105 a sq.ft. for the building. The interior finishing costs are additional.
- Demo fees. If there is an existing property on the land you plan to build on, you may have additional fees for demolition. The average cost to demo an existing home is $7,500 to $15,000.
- Inspection. All homes must pass inspection before occupancy can be granted. This is part of the permitting process and is triggered when a permit is applied for.
- Contingencies. It is a good idea to have a contingency fund of 10% to 20% of your total budget. This helps cover unforeseen issues without slowing down your construction.
- Material shortages. There are both material and labor shortages across the country and in North Carolina specifically. This may mean that the cost of your new home may fluctuate, and some materials may be more difficult to get. It is recommended that you purchase materials early and lock in costs as soon as possible to avoid these issues.
- Buy land. If you do not already own property to build on, you will need to factor in the land purchase. The average cost of an acre of land in North Carolina is just over $7,000.
- Insurance. You may want to take out insurance on your home before the building process begins to help cover the project. Speak to your local adjuster about what options may be available.
- Warranties. New homes may be warrantied for up to 10 years by the builder. This warranty is against any structural issues the home may have. Speak to your builder for more information.
- Is it cheaper to build or buy a house in North Carolina?
It is generally less expensive to build than to buy in North Carolina. However, custom homes cost considerably more to build, and some materials and styles cost more as well.
- How do I start building a house in North Carolina?
Your first step should be to contact a builder or design/build firm. You want to hire someone with experience in the area and home style you want to build.
- How long does it take to build a house in NC?
Typical timelines range from 12 to 16 months, but material and labor shortages may extend these times.
- What is the minimum square footage for a house in North Carolina?
Minimum square footage varies in North Carolina by region. The average is around 120 sq.ft. built on a property of 360 sq.ft., but check with your local municipality for more information.
- Can I legally build my own house in NC?
Any property that costs more than $30,000 requires the supervision of a licensed builder or firm. This means that for most homes built in North Carolina, it is not legal to build your own home unless you are a licensed builder.