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New home construction costs

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  • Feb 18th, 2021 7:50 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 15, 2017
68 posts
31 upvotes
Nanaimo

New home construction costs

As many of you are probably aware, building material costs have skyrocketed over the last year in Canada due to Covid. We purchased a building lot in BC (Vancouver Island) in December 2020, with the plan to be in the new house by December 2021. Now we are considering delaying the build altogether with building costs at all-time highs, but are unsure if prices will begin to drop this year...or next...or never...or some materials will drop but others will continue to rise. Just curious if anybody has some insight to provide in what trends they've been seeing recently when it comes to construction costs.

From our builder yesterday:

  • OSB is now double what it was this time last year
  • Plywood up 150% from last year
  • Doors and drywall up 30%
  • MDF trim up
  • 1" PDF (for door headers) has gone from $2.20/sq foot to $3 in the last month

And we are still waiting on a lumber quote based off our initial design, but I am expecting it to be quite high.
14 replies
Sr. Member
Jun 26, 2019
820 posts
619 upvotes
SPF and Pressure treated have about doubled in material price.

I mostly use hardwoods and they have basically remained unchanged, but have been some supply issues. I think Pine is around the same price as well.

The plywood figure is kinda surprising, the cheapest ply I use is Birch veneer shop, which hasnt really moved in price. But I could see that sheathing/subfloor could have gone up for the same reasons as others.

Idk the size of your house but probably a good $20k extra in lumber costs is not out of the question.

Lots of contractors are charging covid premiums for a variety of reasons as well.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 15, 2017
68 posts
31 upvotes
Nanaimo
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Idk the size of your house but probably a good $20k extra in lumber costs is not out of the question.
We are hoping to be in the ballpark of 2,800-3,000 living space (entry level, with upper bedroom level and a walkout basement) + 400-450 sq ft garage.
Lots of contractors are charging covid premiums for a variety of reasons as well.
Not surprising to hear either. We talked to several builders before purchasing the lot who all said they normally estimate for $200/sq ft for a build...Covid has pushed that to $220+ as a basis.
Sr. Member
May 23, 2006
943 posts
116 upvotes
Vancouver
Is $200/sq feet at the low end?
Heard Vancouver average around $300/sq feet?
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 15, 2017
68 posts
31 upvotes
Nanaimo
Fantastical wrote: Is $200/sq feet at the low end?
Heard Vancouver average around $300/sq feet?
Cant speak to Vancouver specifically, as we are on Vancouver Island where prices are (somewhat) more reasonable. Most builders we talked to did use $200/sq feet as the bar, and could go up/down from there.

One builder we talked to had a house on the go that was $170...and another that was $300. Depends on how high end you go with finishing, but now Covid has pushed up all of the construction costs as well
Deal Expert
Feb 24, 2007
15036 posts
2644 upvotes
Be prepared to pay about 30% more for the same new house than at the same time last year.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
5746 posts
2532 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
Thanks for the info. I am at the south end of the island and was wondering how much building costs are, given there's a building boom and labour is in short supply (have to wait month if not years) and rates are high (as a neighbour put it, they're hiring "anyone who can swing a hammer kind of straight"). I also think material prices here might be higher than on the mainland due to additional transport, not that i have checked.

When I lived in Vancouver (moved away coming up to 7 years ago), a neighbour was a contractor and back then, he could build a house for $200/s.f. while the East Indian contractors could do it for $50/s.f. less.

Scary thing is that I sent out a quote for house insurance through one of the web sites that forwards it to many insurers. One of them came back and they would only insure RV up to assessed value. That'd leave me ~$200k short by the rates you're using.
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Sr. Member
Jun 26, 2019
820 posts
619 upvotes
BiggieWalls wrote: Cant speak to Vancouver specifically, as we are on Vancouver Island where prices are (somewhat) more reasonable. Most builders we talked to did use $200/sq feet as the bar, and could go up/down from there.

One builder we talked to had a house on the go that was $170...and another that was $300. Depends on how high end you go with finishing, but now Covid has pushed up all of the construction costs as well
$170 seems like subdivision builder level.

Can't exactly speak to out there, but $250 is usually the price that gets thrown around here in the GTA.

This said, I hope you can realize how useless a lot of these estimates are. I think going in with $250 in mind might be a good approach, then you can see what the prices look like once you have an itemized cost. So many specifics will change the costs wildly, so the best advice is to engage an architect or get a design, and get an itemized cost estimate done to see what you're looking at.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
14433 posts
8824 upvotes
Toronto
BiggieWalls wrote: Either of you care to elaborate on why you think that?
I agree as well. It's like most things that skyrocket in costs. Profits are hard to let go when you see how much people are willing to spend for something. Even during a 'pandemic' new homes are built and the costs passed on to the buyers, if material ever went back to previous pricing, the home is still going to cost the same.

It's similar to gas pricing. It's goes up to $70/barrel and it's $1.40 at the pump. When it hits $50/barrel it's still $1.40 at the pump.
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Sr. Member
User avatar
Nov 23, 2011
656 posts
674 upvotes
West GTA
koffey wrote: It's similar to gas pricing. It's goes up to $70/barrel and it's $1.40 at the pump. When it hits $50/barrel it's still $1.40 at the pump.
Basically this. If they've already got us paying the premium prices and business is good for them, what incentive would they have to make us pay less?
Jr. Member
Apr 25, 2017
137 posts
103 upvotes
I agree the only way I see construction costs going down is when the supply is high and the demand is low - I don't see the demand side going down significantly unless we have a recession with massive job loss and people can no longer pay for home improvements.
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
636 posts
538 upvotes
Comox Valley
Well that sucks with the prices. My advice is hold off for a year, by next year people will be working more normally, and materials will drop.

Been in the Trades, and also on the island. Again it is a cycle, and we are the top of it. In the next down turn, labor cost will drop. And Vancouver Island at times does get hit hard, in the downturn.

Also with everyone working, the quality of the construction drops, in boom times, as rookies come in to do the work.

For a construction guide, and cost they have a good one here
https://www.altusgroup.com/services/rep ... ost-guide/

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