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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

Becoming a homeowner is a significant goal for many Australians, young and old. One of the ways many Australians are achieving this dream is through building, with the average build price sitting at roughly $618,464 (across all of Australia). In this article, we explore the average building costs for your future home and the factors that can impact prices, including the length of construction. We’ll also explore how building weighs up against buying a home and where to find the best builder for your project.

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Average Cost to Build a House

Nobody likes getting a quote that’s double what you expected, so preparing for the costs of building a house can significantly soften the impact. The average price of building an average home in Melbourne, according to 2017 to 2018 data, ranged from $423,808 to $813,120 (roughly $701,758). Or $1393.55/m², according to 2019 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, when looking at a cost per square meter.

However, despite these figures representing the general average, we need to take into consideration the two most significant factors of building a new house:

  • Build type: There are numerous home builds, including project builds, custom builds and architecturally designed builds. These types each have their own standard rates and costs per square meter.
  • Size: The size of your home can understandably affect the price, with the ABS reporting that the average cost to build a townhouse from 2018 to 2019 was $280,228. In comparison, the average apartment build cost $358,448.

These two factors alone can see a variance of $620/m² to $6,000/m² for building a home, depending on the type of home you’re looking to build. Take a look at the table below to read up on the types of quotes you can expect to see for a number of build types.

Build Type Low-end Average Top-end
Standardised Project Build $620/m² or $110,980 $700/m² or $165,060 $780/m² or $351,000
Luxury Project Build $1000/m² or $179,000 $2000/m² or $358,000 $3000/m² or $1,350,000
Custom Designed $2500/m² or $447,500 $3250/m² or $766,350 $4000/m² or $1,800,000
Architecturally Designed $3000/m² or $537,000 $4191/m² or $988,238 $5382/m² or $2,421,900

*Low-end: Smallest average house in Australia, 179.0m²
*Average: 3 bedroom, 235.8m²
*Top-end: 6 bedroom, 450.0m²

The average range for building a house can vary extremely, even when looking at simple averages. Homeownership and building a new home are extraordinarily involved and complex processes that can be impacted by many things, both planned and unplanned. Read further as we delve deeper into additional specifics that affect building costs for a new home.

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Key Factors That Affect Home Building Costs

Once you know the size and build type of your potential new home, you need to then plan for all the deeper specifics. Preparing for your home build will require a lot of research and communication, but the journey is sure to be worth it.

Some factors you should consider:

  • State: Depending on where you’re looking at building, costs may vary by up to $165,000, with Victoria placing at the 5th cheapest state for construction in Australia, according to
  • Location: The area where you build can affect the cost of land and your future selling power. Not only that, but different locations will have different councils, who may or may not have specific regulations that could also affect building costs. However, location will have a long term effect after your build as well. Factors such as; proximity to local facilities, amenities and even the neighbourhood’s reputation, all potentially drive the price of your home up or down.
  • Fixtures: The quality of fixtures such as cabinetry, fireplaces, bathtubs and sinks. These can cost a pretty penny but improve the longevity and value of your home in the long run.
  • Finishes: Custom finishes such as countertops or flooring add a touch of personal aesthetic and some extra dollars to the budget.
  • Energy Efficiency: Sustainable design, materials, and fixtures can cost extra but will help save your money in the future.
  • Site Costs: Preparing land for construction can include several costs such as soil testing, levelling, access, clearance and surveying. These costs generally total around $15,000 to $25,000 but can be more costly for specific sites. Additionally, if you’re doing a knockdown rebuild, demolition costs can add an additional $11,500 to $16,500 in site preparation costs.
  • Bushfire Protection: If you live in a bushfire prone area, you’ll likely see additional building costs to ensure compliance with specific Australian regulations. Even if your property is in the lowest Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) areas, with a rating of 12.5, you could see an additional $10,000 added to your construction budget. Upwards of $100,000 for the highest level of BAL 40+.
  • Flood Controls: For flooding protection, costs can also climb by around $70,000 for necessary foundation work to ensure your property is above the council’s specified freeboard.
  • Unforeseen circumstances: Emergencies and delays can not only impact the time your build will take but also the cost, with a recommended additional fund of 5 to 10% of the overall project costs.

Understanding these factors and planning accordingly will help you avoid nasty budget surprises. However, there is one last thing you’ll need to account for when building your home — time.

How Long Does it Take to Build a House?

Building a home is a huge undertaking and will require a lot of time. The time it takes to build your home isn’t just a test of patience; it’s also something you need to plan for in terms of budget. Before building your home, you’ll need to consider what your temporary accommodation will be. Whether you decide to rent or stay with your family or friends, your accommodation can be an additional expense.

The actual timeline for building can range from 4 to 24 months, depending on the size, specifications and type of build you choose. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, poor soil conditions and delayed council approvals can add time to your build.

All of that waiting may have you consider whether it’s worth buying over building? Well, read on for the answer.

Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy?

Now we have an idea of the overall cost; how does building weigh up against buying? According to Richard Whitten’s in-depth comparison on, building a home is cheaper than buying. The average Melbourne home costs $701,758 to build versus $830,863 to buy, a total of $129,105 cheaper.

There are more benefits to building than just saving money, such as:

  • Modern fixtures and features can make your life easier in your new home and give you a clean slate for tracking all future maintenance on new appliances.
  • Energy efficiency and sustainable design can help you minimise ongoing power costs as well as support a greener future.
  • Personalised design through choosing each detail of your home alongside a team of designers will make the space your own and improve the functionality of your home for your family.

Living in a home specifically built for you is the dream for many of us, so how can you make those dreams come true? Find a builder!

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How to Find a Good Builder/Home Builder Quotes

If you’re interested in building your dream home, the most important thing you can do is find a builder that will work with you, not against you. You can do this through numerous methods:

  • Word of mouth: Talk with your friends and family or explore forums to discuss others’ experiences with local builders.
  • Research: Make sure to check your builder’s relevant certifications and prior references.
  • Comparison: Compare the quotes given to you, checking that your builder is detailed and consistent. Don’t aim for the lowest price possible; instead, look at quotes as an indication of your builder’s expertise and value.
  • Communication: Discuss with your builder what you want from your dream home and how they can help you achieve your goals. Ensure that you are well-prepared for any initial meetings — communication is a two-way street.

Choosing the right builder can save you money down the road and guarantee your home is built to your vision. At Forme Homes, we aim to deliver the best possible outcome with stellar communication, craftsmanship and collaboration through our in-house design team. With some research under your belt on the costs and risks of building versus buying, you may be considering starting to seek out a builder for your future home. Reach out to us today for your first consultation to discuss your creative vision.