Square Foot Prices Up in 2020

By Paul Emrath - NAHB Eye on Housing

Median square foot prices in new custom single-family detached (SFD) homes started in 2020 increased 8%, according to NAHB’s analysis of the latest Survey of Construction data. Increases in square foot prices in new for-sale SFD homes (excluding skyrocketing improved lot values) averaged 4%. Median sale and contract prices per square foot went up across all US regions, except for the West region where square foot prices in custom SFD starts were lower compared to a year ago.

The highest median square foot sale and custom prices are registered in New England – $173 and $186 per square foot, respectively.  The most economical custom and for-sale SFD homes are started in the South region, where the median contract and sale prices per square foot are consistently below the national medians.

Contract prices of custom, or contractor-built, homes do not include value of improved lot as these homes are built on owner’s land (with either the owner or a contractor acting as a general contractor). Consequently, contract prices are typically lower than sale prices of spec homes. To make comparison more meaningful, the cost of lot development is excluded from sale prices in this analysis.

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