Are you thinking of building instead of buying?

The last few years in Alberta have seen a lot of change in the home building market. The economic downturn has affected almost everything, and that includes home buying and home building.

Many Albertans fork over their life savings to purchase something that they aren’t even happy with or proud of.

There’s no reason that you can’t have your dream home at an affordable price. You may not believe this, but custom home building is an option for you.

But, how much does it cost to build a house vs. buying one? We’ll get to the cost of building a house, but first, we need to talk about the benefits of building instead of buying.

Why Build Instead of Buy?

It seems like every day we hear about how the cost of buying a house in Canadian cities is rising to unbelievable heights. We know Toronto and Vancouver are unaffordable, but we’ve been touched by this in Alberta as well.

Low oil prices have had their effect on us in Calgary and Edmonton. People simply can’t afford to buy houses anymore with our main industry suffering.

In recent years, housing inflation in Calgary has seen many people decide to continue to rent rather than buy. In Edmonton however, rising rental rates are now having the opposite effect. People want ownership over their own land and homes.

This begs the question, however. When you’re spending huge amounts of money on a home, are you getting exactly what you want?


Building a new home from the ground up allows you to have complete control over what your house looks like. Aesthetics and functionality are completely up to you.

When you send out a real estate agent to find you something, you’re asking them to check most of the boxes. This is hard to do, even for the most attentive agents.

Do you want an open concept main floor with a huge kitchen? Builders can do that.

Do you want a log cabin house on one of Alberta’s beautiful lakes with a sunroom to have your morning coffee in? Builders can do that too.

The point is, if you’re spending a lot of hard-earned money, you should be happy with what you’ve got, not meh.

General Maintenance

One of the primary benefits of building a home is that everything is new. Your roof, furnace, and HVAC system all go through wear and tear, each needing constant looking after. It’s thousands of dollars to replace and repair these things.

When you move into a house, you don’t really have any clue what the state of these things is, beyond first glance. Buying gives you the peace of mind, knowing that you’ve got 15-20 years before that wear and tear starts costing you money.

Energy Efficiency

When you buy a home, the older construction of windows and appliances ends up costing you. Energy efficiency is a huge upside in building a new home.

Almost always, updated construction wins out against older technology. Homes built after 2000, on average, consume over 20% less heating energy than older homes. So, building a new home will actually save you money in the short and long run.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?

In short, there are many factors that will determine the cost of building a house. It really depends on what you want, what ideas you’re married to, and which plans are more flexible. Your budget is what determines what you can have done.

Where the Money Goes

When you’re building your custom home, you need to get to know what things cost and where different costs are allocated. In general, costs are divided into two categories; hard costs and soft costs.

Hard costs are the actual costs of doing the construction. This mostly involves labour and the materials used. Everything else, like drawings, permits, and project management and engineering fees, all fall under the soft cost category.

What to Expect

Most housing projects cost between $150 and $200 per square foot. Again, this depends on the bells and whistles, but that’s a good number to start with.

As far as the cost of your land, the numbers can vary wildly depending on where you’re looking to post up. A plot of land in Edmonton, for instance, will start around $120,000.

That would be the cost for a small lot in the city. Larger lots within the city and large pieces of land outside the city can cost a few hundred thousand dollars.

If you do the math here, a 2000 square foot home on a small lot in Edmonton would cost around $400,000. This compares pretty favourably with average house prices in Edmonton, especially when you consider that it’s your custom home.

It’s hard to put an exact number on what building a home in Alberta costs because there are so many variables with materials and land. But it’s safe to say that building a custom home is definitely a preferable option to buying in this market.

By working with a great home builder, you get to pick the materials, the layout, and all of the great features that you want in your house.

Talk To a Custom Home Builder Today

Why linger any more on this decision? Whether you’re a long time renter that wants to have something that’s yours or you’re a retiree looking to get out to the country and take advantage of Alberta’s beautiful outdoor spaces, building a custom home is the cost-effective move.

How much does it cost to build a house? Well, that depends on you. Contact us today to get the ball rolling on your new custom home and visit our blog for more posts on the benefits of owning a custom home in Alberta.

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