9 min read Feb 07, 2024

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in Philadelphia, PA in 2024?

On average, it costs $124 per square foot to build a house in Philadelphia. Apart from this, you need to bear other additional expenses. Construction charges depend on the type of property, square footage, and customizations you choose.

Typically, you would spend 9 months to build your house. In case you don’t hire a contractor and choose to DIY, it can go up to 12 months. To save time and money, you can browse and buy homes for sale instead. save time and money, you can opt to buy a home instead.

💸 Home Building is Expensive

  • Homeowners spend $365,846 in total to build a house in Philadelphia, which is $105,846 more than the median sale price.
  • Expensive labor, supply chain issues, and a rise in material costs can further increase your expenses.
  • In most cases, it is more affordable to buy a home for sale in Philadelphia and move in quickly.

Can I Build My Own House in Philadelphia?

Yes, you can build your own house in Philadelphia, if you have land in an area of your choice. You have to budget for the time and the cost of building your home though. You will also need permits to build your house.

Permit fees depend on the home value or the construction area. Home building permit laws vary across counties in Philadelphia. Refer to your local county’s website or office for more information.

» Permit Costs: Read more about home building permits.

Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy a House in Philadelphia?

It is usually cheaper to buy a home than build a new one. However, by building your own home you get a brand-new residence, customized to your needs.

It costs $215,846 on average to build a home in Philadelphia. This figure can add up to $365,846 if you include land costs, excavations, permits, and other expenses. A new home construction can take up to 9 to 12 months.

Whereas you can buy a home in Philadelphia for $260,000 (median sale price as of September 2023) in 1.5 to 2 months. So, buying a turnkey home is not just cheaper but also faster.

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in Philadelphia?

The average cost to build a house in Philadelphia per square foot is $124. This doesn’t include land costs, permit fees, excavations, and other costs.

Average Cost of Building a House in Philadelphia

Average Home Building Costs in Philadelphia$215,846
Minimum (800 sq. ft.)$99,200
Maximum (5,000 sq. ft.)$620,000
Average Range$201,000 – $310,000

Average Cost to Build a Home in Philadelphia by Square Footage

The table below shows construction cost per square foot in Philadelphia for different home sizes:

Home SizeAverage Price Range
800 sq. ft.$99,200
1,000 sq. ft.$124,000
1,200 sq. ft.$148,800
1,400 sq. ft.$173,600
1,500 sq. ft.$186,000
1,700 sq. ft.$210,800
2,000 sq. ft.$248,000
2,500 sq. ft.$310,000
3,000 sq. ft.$372,000
4,000 sq. ft.$496,000
4,500 sq. ft.$558,000

Cost Breakdown of Building a House in Philadelphia

To paint a better picture, here is a house building cost distribution for a 2,500 sq. ft. house in Philadelphia:

Hard Costs to Build a House in Philadelphia

Hard costs comprise expenses directly involved in the home-building process.

1. Material Cost to Build a New Home: $147,500

Building materials make up approximately 50% of the overall construction prices. You can expect to spend about $50 per square foot on material costs.

The Chief Economist at Associated General Contractors of America, Ken Simonson, expects price hikes and shortages to ease for some products, and to remain volatile for others in 2023.

Here are the material expenses you need to take into consideration while you build your home in Philadelphia:

  • Flooring: $8 to $10 per sq. ft.
  • Drywall: $120 to $205 per 500 sq. wall
  • Siding: $1 to $15 per sq. ft.
  • Lumber: $100 to $135 per board ft.

2. Contractor(s) Charges: 10% – 20%

You need a contractor or a firm to manage the construction process. A general contractor hires several other professionals involved in the home-building process. They include:

  • Electricians
  • Architects
  • Floor installers
  • Plumbers
  • HVAC installers
  • Carpenters, etc.

A contractor charges around 10% to 20% of the total construction value. The fee depends on several factors, such as property type, detailing, materials, and workforce. Apart from a contractor fee, ensure to account for each professional’s hourly rates.

The average hourly rates of home building professionals in Philadelphia are as follows:

ProfessionalsHourly Rate*
Flooring Installers$20.07
Brick Masons$25.02
General Contractors$20.13
HVAC Technicians$29.46
Structural Engineers$46.10
*Hourly rates are sourced from indeed.com and may exclude equipment charges.

3. Electrical Costs: $7,500 – $12,500

The electrical cost for new construction per square foot is $3 to $6. This amount includes both the rough-in as well as the finishing work.

The amount you spend on electrical work will differ depending on the property size, type of wiring, wire material, etc. Some electricians can charge up to $120 per hour.

4. Roof Installation Costs: $3,700 – $42,000

The cost of roofing depends on the type of material you select, the roof’s slope, and the size of your home.

The table below displays Philadelphia home roofing prices per square foot for various materials:

Roofing MaterialAvg Cost per 100 Sq. Ft.
Asphalt Shingle Roof$185.36 – $301.21
Tile Roof$868.88 – $1,390.20
Wood Shake Roof$608.22 – $799.37
Slate Roof$839.92 – $2,085.30
Source: ProMatcher

5. Plumbing Costs: $12,000

Plumbing costs include installing plumbing fixtures such as toilets, faucets, wash basins, bathtubs, etc. Homeowners spend around $4.50 per sq. ft. in plumbing in new construction or $4,080 on average.

You require a plumber to fix the pipes and lay the sewage lines. You also need to install washing machines, dryers, and geysers while custom building a home in Philadelphia.

6. HVAC Installation Costs: $12,500

Homeowners pay $1,500 to $12,500 to install a new HVAC system. This cost can further vary as per the size of the cooling area, the type of system, the brand, etc. All these additional factors can increase the HVAC installation cost by $2,000 or more.

Soft Costs to Build a House in Philadelphia

Soft costs in home construction contribute to the building process indirectly. They include costs like land costs, permit costs, design costs, etc.

1. Land Costs: $45,500 per Acre

Before you build your house in Philadelphia you need to shop for land to build it on. You will incur two costs related to land:

  • Land Purchase Cost: The average price per acre in Pennsylvania is $42,500. The cost of land depends on the size of the house you wish to build as well as the location.
  • Preparation Cost: You need to clear the land and level it before starting the construction process. Land preparation costs can be anywhere between $1,500 – $3,000.

    🤔 Is it cheaper to build a house in Philadelphia if you already own land?

    Yes. In most cases, building a house in Philadelphia is cheaper if you own the land. You will incur only the cost of building the home. Plus, you can customize your home to your requirements!

    » Land For Sale By Owner in Philadelphia: Buy land to build a house near you.

2. Philadelphia Home Building Permit Costs: $5,000

In Philadelphia, contractors need a building permit to construct a new house. Construction or building permits are legal documents that authorize the house-building process.

The permit costs and building codes vary per county. They are usually based on the construction type, occupancy type, home building area, and project scope.

Some permits you may need, along with their average costs are as follows:

  • Building Permit: $1,000 to $2,000
  • HVAC Permit: $250 to $400
  • Plumbing Permit: $50 to $500
  • Electrical Permit: $10 to $500

3. Home Interiors: $20,000

Before you move into your new home, you’ll need furniture, electronics, utensils, silverware, and bathroom essentials.

The costs will depend upon your taste, quality of finishes, location, and the outlet you order from. For a 2,500 sq. ft. home, you should budget at least $20,000 on interior furnishings.

4. Home Interior Designer Costs: $5,400

If designing your own home interior isn’t your thing, you can hire an interior designer. A great interior designer will provide you with 3D views and renderings of your home.

An interior designer will also order the right furniture, wall prints, rugs, etc. based on your taste and requirements. They can also help you maximize space utilization.

The cost of an interior designer isn’t cheap. You can budget $5,400; it can be more or less depending on your requirements.

House Building Financing Options

Here are the typical home-building financing options available for you:

Home Construction Loans

The two most prominent home construction loans are:

  • Construction-to-Permanent Loan: This loan covers land purchases and home-building costs. It is converted to a conventional mortgage after the construction is complete and you move into the house.
  • Construction-only Loan: It only covers the cost of home building. After your home is ready, the entire loan amount is due. You can pay back the loan in cash or take out a mortgage.

Personal Loan

A personal loan will not cover your entire home-building cost. You can opt for a personal loan to finance a specific part of the construction. For example, you can finance landscaping through a personal loan.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan applies to homeowners who already have a property and want to finance new construction. Depending on how much equity you own in your existing home, you can finance the entire construction of your new home or a part of it.

Should You Build Your Own House in Philadelphia?

You can build a house yourself or hire a general contractor if you own land in a location you want to live in. You can budget 9 to 12 months to plan and construct your new home in Philadelphia.

However, if you don’t own land, we recommend you house-hunt for turnkey homes in Philadelphia and move in quickly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to build a 2,000 square foot home in Philadelphia, PA?

It costs about $124 per square foot to build a house in Philadelphia. You will have to spend $248,000 to build a 2,000-square-foot home in Philadelphia. These costs will vary depending on location, property type, labor expenses, material costs, etc.

How much does it cost to build a house per square foot in Philadelphia, PA?

It costs $124 per square feet to build a house in Philadelphia. However, home-building costs depend on several other factors. These include property type, construction area, labor costs, etc.

How much does it cost to frame a house in Philadelphia, PA?

It costs about $17 per square foot to frame a house in Philadelphia.

How much does a foundation cost in Philadelphia,PA?

A foundation costs $7.31 - $8.13 per square foot in Philadelphia depending on the thickness of the reinforced slab.


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