How much does it cost to build a house in Massachusetts?

Published July 1, 2024

Construction loans are the most popular home lending product in 2024. Why? Interested homebuyers have been disadvantaged by low housing inventory and high prices for homes that need a lot of work. So, what happens when a prospective homeowner can’t find a home to buy? They think, “why don’t I just build one?” But how much does it cost to build a house in Massachusetts, and is it really more cost efficient than financing a home that needs some TLC?

How much does a plot of land cost in Massachusetts?

In order to build, you must first have the land to build on. According to the National Association of Home Builders, Massachusetts is among the most expensive states in the country to buy land (ouch). The cost of the land is, of course, going to depend on the size and what town or city you purchase it in. According to Boston Agent Magazine, Vineyard Haven, MA topped the list for most expensive real estate in the country in 2024.

According to Houzeo.com, the average cost per acre of land in MA is $333,200 in 2024. The cost to clear and prep the land for building can range from $1,500 to $6,000 per acre.

How much does it cost to build a house?

First, if you’re planning on taking out a construction loan, be prepared to have a down payment and a chunk of change in a savings account. There are up front costs that you will need to pay. The way the construction loan works is, you will need to pay your contractor for each step. Once our inspector checks that the work was in fact completed, the funds will be disbursed to you. You will need to have a building permit, proof of insurance/builders risk policy, and a proposed plot plan before you receive your first disbursement. Now that you know that, lets get into some of the itemized costs of your build.

Permits

The cost of permits for home building varies depending on where you’re building, and the cost of your construction. These are the permits that you will need to obtain in order to build a house in Massachusetts:

  • Building permit

Building permit costs vary. The City of Worcester charges $12 per $1,000 of the construction cost for a building permit while the City of Framingham charges $15 per $1,000. Other cities and towns will charge different prices and the total will always depend on the cost of your build. For this reason, it’s difficult to provide an average or range of cost, but if you know your cost of construction you should be able to calculate an estimate for yourself.

  • Plumbing permit

Plumbing permits can cost around $50-$500 in MA. This will depend on how many sinks, toilets, and showers are being installed.

  • Electrical permit

Electrical permits can cost $10-$500 in MA. This will depend on a few different factors including, underground or overhead wiring, single family attached vs detached home, wiring for pools or solar panels, etc.

  • HVAC permit

HVAC permits can cost $250-$400 in MA.

It’s important to get all necessary permits because if you’re caught building without one, you can be fined up to $1,000 per day. Check with your contractor or check your town’s schedule of fees to find a more accurate estimate for your situation.

Average building costs (materials and labor)

After you have your permits in order, you’re ready to build. The costs of each step of your building process will depend on what materials you decide to purchase. Like if you spring for hardwood floors and marble countertops, you’ll be spending more than if you chose laminate floors and countertops. Or if you’re building a one floor home, you’ll likely be spending less on framing costs than a two floor home.

According to Angi, here are the average estimates for what you might spend. We stress that these are estimates and your contractor could provide a more precise number for you.

Foundation: $5,100 – $19,400

Framing: $18,500 – $27,500

Roof: $12,940 – $26,005

Siding(vinyl): $9,234 – $23,452

Siding(shingle): $13,000 – $23,375

Plumbing: $10,000 – $20,000

HVAC System: $5,000 – $12,500

Electrical: $4,000 – $20,000

Drywall Installation: $2,036 – $12,738

Flooring: $1,498 – $4,045

Appliances: $350 – $8,000

General Contractor: 10%-20% of final build cost

Remember, the low number here is the low end of the average, not the lowest number you could pay. Visit our sources at the bottom of the page to see what the lowest end of the data is. If you are building a home that is around 1,000 square feet or smaller, you might see lower prices than these averages.

Cheapest types of houses to build

These styles are some of the most inexpensive home designs to build. Keep in mind that even if you are building one of these types of houses, making it super customized could become costly.

  • Tiny house
  • Ranch
  • Colonial
  • Barndominum
  • Kit home
  • Prefabricated home
  • Storage container home

Crunching the Numbers

Now that you know the average costs of each step of your construction, let’s crunch some numbers. According to Fixr.com, the overall average cost to build a home in Massachusetts is around $500,000 to $750,000. The low-end of that range is $150,000 for a 1,500 square foot Cape Cod style home. The high-end is $1,800,000 for a fully customized three-story colonial style home. They also break down the averages per square footage. Those are:

Size

Cost to Build

1,000 sq.ft. $200K – $600K
1,200 sq.ft. $240K – $720K
1,500 sq.ft. $300K – $900K
1,800 sq.ft. $360K – $1.08M
2,000 sq.ft. $400K – $1.2M
2,500 sq.ft. $500K – $1.5M
2,700 sq.ft. $540K – $1.62M
3,000 sq.ft. $600K – $1.8M
3,500 sq.ft. $700K – $2.1M
4,000 sq.ft. $800K – $2.4M

 

So, knowing what you know now, what do you think? Do you want to build a brand new house or buy one that may need a bit of work? Whatever your decision, Webster First and our expert home lending team are here to help you each step of the way.

Land Loans          Construction Loans         Mortgages

 

 

Sources:
https://bostonagentmagazine.com/2024/03/20/massachusetts-small-town-named-most-expensive-to-live-in-the-u-s/#:~:text=Vineyard%20Haven%2C%20Massachusetts%2C%20topped%20the,real%20estate%20in%20the%20country.
https://www.houzeo.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-a-house-massachusetts/#:~:text=Land%20Purchase%20Cost%3A%20The%20average,acre%20in%20Massachusetts%20is%20%24333%2C200.
https://www.worcesterma.gov/uploads/bb/7f/bb7f3f6bbf1e74f0e71992e681ebac06/schedule-of-fees.pdf
https://www.framinghamma.gov/324/Building-Permit-Fees
https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-does-concrete-foundation-cost.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/cost-to-frame-house.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-does-roof-replacement-cost.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-install-vinyl-siding.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/plumber-cost.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/insider-s-price-guide-new-heating-and-cooling-system.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-would-it-cost-run-new-electric-service-existing-power-pole-approximately-1000-ft.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/what-cost-install-drywall.htm
https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-do-home-appliances-cost.htm
https://www.fixr.com/costs/build-house-massachusetts
https://www.homelight.com/blog/buyer-cost-to-build-a-house-in-massachusetts/