Real Estate

18 States Where It’s Cheaper to Build Than to Buy

Homebuyers can save thousands by building instead of buying in these states across the country.
Emily Benda Gaylord Avatar
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Many homeowners dream of building their own house, but steep building costs usually stop most homeowners from building and turning to find their dream home in an existing house. In recent years, however, high listing prices and the lack of inventory have led home buyers to consider building their own home for a better price.

“The increasing competitiveness of the real estate market in many regions of the U.S. is stimulating a growing interest in building a home versus buying one,” said Paul Galvin, CEO of Safe and Green Holdings. “This change in mindset offers a unique advantage to nonprofessional builders—the ability to tailor their living spaces to best suit their needs.”

StorageCafe conducted a study that looked at the cost to build a house compared to buying a near equivalent home in the same state. The study found the cost to build in western and southeastern states is lower than buying a home, whereas the Midwest, South, and Northeast have lower house prices to make buying a home a better option. Keep in mind the land and cost to build will vary based on the area within the state, so large metro areas will likely cost more than the estimated build price. Take a look at the 18 states where the average cost to build a home is cheaper than buying one.

1. Hawaii

Brown house with green roof around green forest
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This island state holds the nation’s highest cost to purchase a single family home, with a median listing price of $1,045,000. The estimated cost to build is nearly half, coming in at $551,000.

2. California

California home
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California also has significant savings when it comes to building over buying a home. The cost to build is estimated at $495,000, which is $205,000 less than the median single family home listing price of $700,000.

3. Colorado

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Colorado has another large gap between the cost to build a home and the cost to buy a home. The estimated cost to build is $492,000 and the median listing price is more than $100,000 more at $600,000.

RELATED: 19 Kit Homes You Can Buy and Build Yourself

4. Utah

homes being built in Utah
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Utah has seen massive population growth since the pandemic, and based on this data, new residents may want to consider building if they want a better price. The estimated cost to build is $538,000, whereas the median home listing price is $635,000.

5. Virginia

Large home in Virginia
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Virginia is the southeastern state with the biggest cost advantage of building over buying. The estimated cost to build is $361,000, and the median home listing price is $458,000.

6. Delaware

House in Delaware
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Delaware is another state where it may be cheaper for homebuyers to build their own home than buy an existing one. The cost to build is estimated at $394,000, and the median single family home listing price for Delaware is almost 25 percent more at $490,000.

RELATED: Solved! How Long Does It Take To Build A House?

7. Maryland

Ranch home in Maryland
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Maryland residents may benefit from taking a look at building costs if they’re looking for a new home. The estimated cost to build is $365,000, and the median home price is $460,000.

8. Montana

Waterfront home in Montana
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The estimated cost to build a home in Montana is $515,000, and the median home listing price is $599,000, which leaves extra funds for other moving costs.

9. Florida

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Florida has long been appealing to residents for its tropical climate, and the pandemic only accelerated the growth at which people moved to the state. If you’re looking to move here, you may be better off building your home. The cost to build is estimated at $375,000, and the median home price is significantly more at $451,000.

10. Idaho

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Idaho is another Rocky Mountain state that made this list. The estimated cost to build a new home in Idaho is $505,000, whereas the median home listing price is $575,000.

RELATED: 5 Things to Know Before Buying Land to Build a House

11. Washington

New construction homes
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According to the data, buyers looking for a new home in Washington can save more than $65,000 if they build a home instead of buying. The estimated cost to build is $493,000 and the median home listing price is $559,000.

12. Massachusetts

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In Massachusetts, the estimated building cost for a new home is $576,000, and the median home listing price is $629,000, offering savings for those making a move to the Northeast.

13. Texas

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Texas is another state that has seen population growth in the last few years, and the higher home prices reflect the high demand. The estimated cost to build in Texas is $361,000, and the median home listing price is $412,000.

RELATED: The Best Home Builders in Texas

14. Oregon

Modern homes in Oregon
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Oregon’s estimated building cost is $502,000, more than $40,000 cheaper than the median home listing price of $545,000.

15. North Carolina

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North Carolina has become a popular spot in recent years, and the home prices show it. The median home price is $395,000. On average, it’s cheaper for homebuyers to build their own home for $363,000.

16. Georgia

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Georgia buyers can save $30,000 by building instead of buying their home. The estimated cost to build a home is $365,000, and the median home price is $395,000.

RELATED: 20 House Styles and Types All Homeowners (and Home Buyers) Should Know About

17. Tennessee

traditional brick home
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Tennessee is another state that has seen an increase in population in recent years, which has driven up real estate prices. Now, homebuyers could save about $13,000 by building a home for $361,000 instead of buying one for $374,000.

18. New York

Brick home
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The cost difference between building and buying is less in New York than in other states listed here. However, building a home may still be cheaper with an $11,000 difference. The estimated cost to build is $524,000, and the median home listing price is $535,000.