How Much Does It Cost to Build a Custom Home in Houston?
Opting for a custom home lets you build in cutting-edge energy-saving and other cool features, hand-pick all your materials, maximize the functionality for your family, and express your personality.
The best part is it’s not just for the ultra-wealthy; prospective homeowners with modest budgets can still get into the perfect custom home.
So what does it cost to build a custom home in Houston? Like TVs or cars or many other consumer products, the answer depends on the bells and whistles you’re getting.
Are you looking for the house equivalent of a 7-inch portable TV, or a 100-inch 3D-capable OLED? Even homes of the same square footage can double or triple in cost based on what you put into it.
But we can help you get an idea of what a custom home goes for in and around the Greater Houston area, in three popular sizes.
Houston Custom Home Prices by the Numbers
The average Houston home size is nearly 2,400 square feet, which is among the largest averages in the nation. But according to the latest numbers from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the average new-construction home size as of January 2020 is 2,594 square feet.
According to HomeAdvisor, it costs between $200,000 and $450,000 on average to build a 2,600 square foot custom home in Houston/Galveston, although in our opinion the low end of the spectrum should be closer to $300,000. It would be quite difficult to get that much house in 2021 for $200,000.
Going by square footage, custom homes in Houston begin around $130 for “builder grade” materials, but for high-quality builds expect to pay from $150 up to $300+ per square foot.
(per square foot)
Custom Home Cost Calculator
Work out the cost of your custom home with the calculator below.
Input the size of the home (in square feet) and the cost of materials (per square foot) to calculate the build cost.
Key Factors that Affect Houston Custom Home Prices
- Lot: If you’ve already bought your lot, you don’t need to be told that this often-overlooked aspect of custom home building adds a substantial chunk to your all-in costs. Inside the Loop, the average .25-acre plot commands several hundred thousand dollars minimum, with land prices reaching into the millions in River Oaks, The Heights, West U, and other highly sought areas. Searching outside the Loop is no guarantee of cheap land either, but it’s likely to help.
- Flood zone status: If your lot is in a flood zone, the expense of building up your home, creating adequate drainage, and other flood mitigating factors will add approximately 20% to your construction costs.
- Home size: Pretty simple, bigger means more expensive, not just width but height–adding a second story also adds to costs. Even an unusually shaped home with lots of corners affects prices.
- Permits, surveys, and other preliminary items: This includes any necessary demolition of the existing property, soils testing, lot preparation such as clearing trees, architectural fees, and permits.
- Labor: The sweat equity to build your home represents roughly half the bill, and it can vary as much as 10% based on your chosen builder. Custom-built homes are often more complex to build than modular homes and builders equipped to handle the work are able to command a higher price. Lumber prices: This is particularly relevant as of Summer 2021, as the price of lumber has tripled during the coronavirus pandemic. This has added an average of more than $35,000 to the price of American homes. All that framing lumber has a direct impact on your custom home costs.
- Finishes: Decking out your interior can rack up costs quickly. This includes:
- the type of windows you choose (e.g. low-cost vinyl vs. high-end wood)
- entry-level vs. premium garage doors
- basic plumbing fixtures vs. luxury (e.g.rain shower heads, tankless water heater)
- the type of flooring (e.g. vinyl or laminate vs. hardwood or luxury vinyl planks)
- countertop materials (basic granite vs. marble or bahia granite)
Legal Eagle Contractors Are Knowledgeable Custom Home Builders
In our 35+ years of building homes, we’ve learned all the ins and outs of the economics of building a custom home.
One thing we always recommend is adding a contingency amount into your budget of 10% for a new home build. This will cover any features you decide to add late in the project or anything unforeseen that comes up.
Although we can always help you “build on your lot,” we also recommend letting us help you secure the land for your custom home. You’re competing against big homebuilding firms for lots and they have lots of resources at their disposal. Not only can we steer you away from lots with potential obstacles such as poor soil quality, lack of sewer hookups, or setbacks, but we can help you quickly identify and move on promising spots, which is important during hot markets.
We have a dedicated interior decorator and a designer on staff who can advise you throughout the planning and construction phases about where to splurge and where you can save money, based on your tastes.
We’re also design-builders, which means the architect on the project is also in-house, not under a separate contract. While this may or may not save you money on the architecture fees, it streamlines the construction process and reduces the odds of problems, which can save you significant time and money. See the many benefits of design-build project management.
We Design & Build Beautiful Custom Homes
Any size. Any style.
Article reviewed by Dan Bawden, CAPS, GMB, CGR, CGP, and President of Legal Eagle Contractors.