The Cost of Building a Home

 

The cost of building a home in Saskatoon is $335.14 per square foot.

Ok — we made that up.

We wish it were that simple, as it would make the quoting process much easier for us!

Often, we are asked what it costs to build a home. In fact, this is the #1 question! We compare it to asking what a new car costs. There isn’t a singular answer. It depends on the brand, engine size, features, type of vehicle (truck versus car), etc. The cost of building a home depends on the quality, size, features, house style (two-storey versus bungalow), and the list goes on.

In this article, we’ll show you why there isn’t an easy calculation for determining the cost of a home. But, we will provide you with some helpful pricing guidelines so you have an idea of what to expect when it comes to home building costs.

 

1. Fixed Costs Versus Variable Costs affect the Cost of Building a Home

We’ll start off by examining fixed costs versus variable costs.

 

  • The variable costs change as the size of the house changes. Examples include flooring, drywall, paint, lumber, roofing, insulation, etc. As the size of the house increases, you need more of each of these items. The costs of these items vary with the house size.
  • Fixed costs are the costs that stay relatively unchanged as the house size changes. They can vary slightly with house size but not significantly. Some examples are permits, stairs, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and appliances.

 

Example:

Let’s assume that the fixed costs for a home are relatively constant at $400,000. Now, let’s look at the fixed costs of two different home sizes – a 1,500 square foot home and a 2,500 square foot home.

 

$400,000 of costs on a 1,500 sq. ft home = $266/sq. ft

$400,000 of costs on a 2,500 sq. ft home = $160/sq. ft

 

Explanation:

The difference is $106 per square foot. That’s a 66% difference in $/sq ft pricing, even though the costs to build are exactly the same!

The graph below outlines the relationship between house size and the cost of the home. As you can see, the cost per square foot of a home will decrease as the house gets bigger (assuming everything else stays the same). That doesn’t mean the total cost of the home is lower as it gets larger, it just means the cost per square foot (also known as the unit cost) decreases.

cost per square foot

 

2. Finishing Levels and Upgrades affect the Cost of Building a Home

The correlation between the quality of finishing materials and building costs is a straightforward concept. More expensive selections will mean higher costs per square foot.

To accurately price out a home, the finishing materials need to be decided upon. In the past, we have been asked how much it costs to build a 2,000 square foot, two-storey home. The answer depends on what level of finishing the home has. For example, will the home have stucco or siding, hardwood or laminate floors, quartz or laminate countertops? Perhaps, you want a wireless home audio/automation system? Custom stairs or railings? Do you want energy efficiency upgrades?

 

Example:

We’ll assume we are quoting two different clients on the same 2,700 square foot floor plan. Client 1 wants quality finishing details but isn’t looking to be extravagant. Client 2 wants to customize the home and incorporate some executive style products and finishes. Below are examples of how two different clients may choose to spend in different areas. Their difference in finishing details affects the cost to build a home. [Side note: We let clients make these decisions before we start construction so there are no surprises  along the way.]

 

Explanation:

The pricing for these two homes varies by $190,000. When you break that down, that is a $70/sq ft price difference two homes with the same floor plan.

The graph below shows the relationship between finishing levels and the cost of the home.

cost per square foot - finishing

3. Additional Costs that affect the Cost of Building a Home

Another factor can throw off $/square foot pricing is something we refer to as “additional costs”. These aren’t product upgrades or unforeseen costs. However, they can impact the cost to build a home.  These items can add significant costs to some builds. Since they occur without changes to the house size, they push the $/sqft cost upward.

Some examples include:

  • Large garages – particularly on acreage lots
  • Utility servicing costs – infill and acreage projects
  • Demolition and tree removal costs – infill projects
  • Basement finishing
  • Walkout basement construction

 

4. House Style

The type/style of a house also affects the cost of building a home. Depending on the style, the unit price ($/square foot) of a home will change. The majority of homes in Saskatoon fall into three types of styles: two-storey homes, bungalows, and bi-levels. Each type of home has different costs to build.

Let’s take a look at how a bungalow design compares with a two-storey design. If a bungalow and a two-storey are each the same size (livable space above grade), then the bungalow will have more linear feet of foundation wall, more square feet of basement floor concrete, and more roof area. All of these will result in higher costs to build.

 

Example:

We’ll assume we are quoting on a 2,000 square foot (above grade) bungalow and a 2,000 square foot (above grade) two-storey home that have the same finishing materials. Based on the type of home, the basement footprint on the bungalow will be the same size as the main floor (2,000 square feet). For the two-storey, the basement size will only be 1,000 square feet since the upper floors are both 1,000 square feet. The same holds true for roof size comparisons (2,000 square feet versus 1,000 square feet).

As you can see, even though both homes are 2,000 square feet in size, and have the same finishing levels, the bungalow will cost more per square foot than the two-storey home.

The graph below shows the relationship in the costs of different home styles, assuming all other things remain equal.

cost per square foot - home styles

Summary

So, what did we learn? We’ve learned that the cost of building a home is more complicated than just having a simple $/square foot figure that applies in all situations.

  • The larger the home gets, the lower the unit cost ($/square foot) of the home, if all other things remain equal.
  • Finishing levels have a big impact on the unit cost of the home.
  • “Additional costs” may play a role in the final cost depending on the location and house details
  • The house style will impact the unit cost of the home. Bungalows are the highest cost and two-storeys are the lowest, if all other things remain equal.

 

What Price Ranges Can You Expect in Saskatoon?

As you can see, there isn’t a single pricing answer we can provide you without getting more information about your ideal home. However, we will attempt to give you a ballpark estimate of what price ranges to expect when building. The goal here is to provide you with some preliminary pricing information. You can then determine if you would like to proceed to the next stage and obtain firmer pricing.

As of 2024 and based on the typical finishes selected by our clients, the majority of our builds are ABOVE this price range:

 

Two-storey homes: $325/sq. ft AND UP *

Bungalows: $375/sq. ft AND UP *

 

*This is the starting point for finishes that may be used in a Lexis built home. Pricing includes our design services and the high-quality products & trades utilized in our homes. The price includes taxes but does not include land costs, servicing costs for infill / acreage builds, landscaping, or basement development. The purpose of the pricing listed above is to provide a broad overview of what to expect for costs. Pricing is subject to change.

Prices will be higher when including items such as basement finishing, larger garages, higher end finishes, landscaping, servicing costs, etc.

If you would like more accurate pricing, please contact us! We offer no-obligation consultations to answer all of your questions about building a new home in Saskatoon and the surrounding areas.

 

 

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