Cost to Build A House in California


    DISCLAIMER By continuing, you agree that our moving specialist partners may contact you by text message, email, and/or phone (Possibly by auto-dialing or recorded message) to get in touch with you to provide a quote and/or for marketing purposes. You understand consent is not a condition of purchase of movingist. You also agree to the Privacy Policy.

    How much to build a house in California per square foot? This is the question you often ask while thinking about your dream house in the Golden State. 

    The average cost per square foot to build a house in Southern California is $500 or more. However, the average cost to build a house in California is between $300 – $500 per square footage. The cost varies according to the location and size of the house. 

    If you are thinking, how much does it cost to build a 1500 sq ft house in California i.e., a house consisting of 2-3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a laundry room, a dining room and a living room. 


    The 1500-square-foot house will cost between $155,000 to $416,250. The price varies according to the material and location.

    Is it Cheaper to build or buy a house in California?

    Buying a house is always cheaper than building one in California. Building a house in California is a lot of hassle. You need to buy land, pay permit fees, material cost, labour cost and lots of patience to build a house in California. Moreover, it is a time-consuming process. So, you must be thinking, How Much To Buy A House In California? Well, it will be much cheaper and easier to buy a home in California.

    However, if you know the ins and outs i.e., trading, material, or hiring labourers of construction in California, then building a house can be cheaper for you. 

    Can I legally build my own house in California?

    Yes, you can legally build your own house in California. According to the California Business and Profession code 7044, the owner of the house can be his own contractor under certain permit conditions. 

    If you sign a permit application for being an owner-builder, then you will be fully responsible for all the constructional phases of the project and its integrity.  

    The Cost of Building A Custom Home in California

    Building a custom home in the Golden State is what everybody desires. A custom house building gives you complete freedom to design your house according to your desire. 

    Moreover, the average cost of a custom house per square foot is $500 or more. The tract house building in California costs $300 to $350 per square foot. The cost varies due to the changes in the material prices, location and labors. 

    Hard Costs In California

    Hard Costs are also referred to as ‘ Brick and Mortar costs’  as they involve the physical construction of a building. These are the most clear costs and make up the 70% of the entire project depending upon the location, government fees and other complexities.  


    Hard Costs are the actions and materials needed in the construction of a building  including the land preparation, landscaping, concrete materials, and labour. 

    The costs of Plumbing, electrical materials, roofing, framing, drywalling and finishing touches are all included in the Hard costs of building a house in California. 

    The Hard costs of the physical actions and materials in California are discussed below in detail. 

    1. Size & Structure

    The size and structure of a house greatly affect the overall costs of building. The size includes the square footage, number of rooms, and stories. 


    Whereas the structure includes different kinds like a standard home, a luxurious home and a minimum standard home. 

    Kinds of house Average building costs per square footage
    Luxury House$800+ per sq. ft.
    Semi-Luxury House$550  per sq. ft.
    Best Standard House$400 per sq. ft.
    Good standard House$280 per sq. ft.
    Average Standard House$200 per sq. ft. 
    Minimum Standard House$150 per sq. ft. 

    California offers great housing styles. However, the building’s costs also vary according to structure, location, labor demand, and material used. The average costs of the various housing structures are mentioned below: 

    Housing Styles Average building  costs
    Mediterranean $950,000+
    Cape Cod $660,000
    Victorian $1 Million
    California ranch $660,000
    Contemporary $1.35 Million 
    Beach$810,000 to 1 Million 
    Spanish $800,000
    Tiny House $50,000

    What is the price per square foot in California?

    Price per square foot in California ranges from $300 to $500 and more. Different locations have different prices. 


    The price difference is due to various factors, including quality schools, parks, restaurants, and attraction points, including all other amenities.  

    Building a home is both expensive and cheap in California. San Francisco is the most expensive city to build a home in and is also famous for the Best Restaurants in California.

    On the other hand, Sacramento is the cheapest city in California to build a house in and is among the safest cities in California.

    The price per square foot in different cities of California is given below: 

    Cities of California Price per square foot 
    Los Angeles$400 – $480
    San Francisco$500 – $800
    San Diego$480 – $800
    San Jose$300 – $450
    Sacramento $300 – $330

    2. Electrical Installation Costs

    For Electrical installation, you need to hire a professional or certified electrician to fully wire your house. It costs $3 to $5 per square foot for wiring instalment. 


    Electrical work depends upon the type of house, wires used, storeys of the house, and other electrical materials used. The complete electrical work includes the installation of switches, earthing, wiring, panels and fixtures. 

    Additional work includes the set-up at pools and speakers. Whereas, a project of wiring a house can take 5 to 7 days to complete. 

    How much does an Electrician cost in California?

    An Electrician costs $50 to $100 per hour. The price varies depending on the nature of the electrical work. However, you might have to pay the travel expenses and extra material used. 

    3. Roofing costs

    Roof costs are a bit high in California. For roofing a new house or existing house, You have to pay an average cost from  $20K to $80K. You can opt for asphalt shingles, slate roofs, and tiles. 


    Roof cost depends on the type of roof and the size of the roof. The cheaper ones are the asphalt Shingle roofs due to easy installation and less costs. 

    Only Asphalt shingles cost an average of $8,500 to $ 24,500. For a house of 1200 square feet, Shingles cost $1200 to $ 3600 with the additional charges of the materials and installation i.e., $5,400 to $14,000 

    However, tile roofs are also widely used in California. The concrete and clay tile roofs are popular in California. The average cost of clay tile ranges between $7 to $25 per square foot. 

    The cost can vary due to the other prices of labor and material used. 

    How much does a Metal roof cost in California?

    The average cost of a Metal roof costs between $10 to $ 16 per square foot. Metal roofs are more expensive than those asphalt shingles and clay tiles. 
    Metal roof includes the galvanized steel, Zinc, stainless steel, aluminium and copper roofs. The cost to install a metal roof depends on the size of the roof and type of material used.
    A 1000-square-foot roof costs $10,600 to $16,500 for a metal roof in California. 

    4. Plumbing Price

    On average, the plumbing costs are between $4.50 per square foot. Plumbing work includes the installation of bathtubs, toilets, faucets and wash basins. 


    How do I estimate Plumbing costs in California?

    Plumbing costs can be estimated by per square foot price or hourly charges of a plumber. The national plumbing rates are $4 per square foot. However, a plumber charges from  $25 to $200 per hour, depending on the nature of work and repair needed. 

    5. HVAC 

    Heat, Ventilation and Air condition system installation costs between $5000 to $12,000. The cost depends upon the size and layout of your house. 

    The installation, brand and size of the system might cause an increase in the overall cost of the HVAC. 

    How much is a HVAC system for a house in California?

    The national cost of the HVAC runs from $7,500. However, the price varies due to the size, brand and type of the system. 

    The price can also change due to the size and layout of the house.

    6. Labor Cost

    Building a house is impossible without the laborers. So, you need to hire laborers for various tasks. Labor costs depend upon the work in the construction of the house. 


    Labourers in California are paid hourly. According to the Fixr, a  few of the professional laborers and their hourly costs are mentioned below: 

    Labor in California Hourly cost of labors in California 
    Plumber$25 – $ 200 per hour
    Electrician$50 – $100 per hour 
    Painter$20 – $50  per hour
    Carpenter$35 – $90 per hour
    HVAC technician$30 -$60 per hour
    Flooring specialist$50 – $100 per hour
    Roof installer$30 – $50 per hour

    How much does labour cost a house in California?

    According to the Homeadvisor, labor costs 30 to 50% of the total cost of the house construction. However, a labor cost must be calculated by the hourly work and paid to all other professional labourers, including plumbers, electricians, roofers, HVAC engineers and others. 

    Soft Costs in California

    Soft Costs are the costs other than the construction costs. Soft costs include the land and real estate fees, permit fees, architectural & design fees, and taxes. 

    1. Cost of Land 

    Land costs are much higher in California. The cost of land largely depends upon the size and location of the land. 


    A land with more facilities, quality educational institutes, lush gardens and tourist points costs much more than an average land lacking all these amenities.

    The average cost of land in California starts from $75,000 to Millions varying from region to region. 

    How much does an acre of land cost in California?

    An acre of land costs $23,999 in california. The price varies in different regions. For an acre of land in the downtown heart of the city it can cost up to millions. 

    But if you want to buy an acre in a desert or mountainous area, it can cost up to $10K or even less. 

    How much is undeveloped land worth in California? 

    According to the recent Land and data form, the average cost of the undeveloped land in California is $912,967. There is almost 200,000 acres of undeveloped land in California. California is among one of the five highest states with most of the undeveloped land for sale.

    The price in a few of the regions ranges between $5000 to $12,000 per acre. 

    2. Architecture and Design Fees 

    For building your dream house, you need to hire an architect to design your house according to your desire. 


    However, the architecture fees depend upon the hourly work or per square foot. The average price of the architect hourly is $140 to $190. 

    Always do proper research and hire a professional and experienced architect for your house. 

    How much do architectural designers charge in california?

    The common architectural fees are from $2 to $5. However, hourly charges of an architect range from $140 to $190. The price can vary due to the work and complexity of the job. 

    Permits and other fees 

    The permit fees are paid to the government. The permit form is required to construct a house in California. You even need a permit for the inspection after the completion of the project. The permit is not approved until the inspection procedure is complete. Remember to py the inspection fee also. 

    How much are permits in California?

    The average building permit in California is $1200. These permit charges are set by the government. You must have to fulfil the fee before starting the project. Violating the rules will lead to strict actions. 

    These permit charges can also increase up to $3000 due to the various other house works and materials used. 

    Hire professional Builders

    Never hire an unprofessional worker for your house. Otherwise, it might end up ruining your house and wasting your money! 


    A professional and licensed builder will help you in building your house perfectly and according to your desire. So, do proper research before hiring a builder. 

    You can also explore California for a perfect house location. However, the best time to visit California is in the summer. So, first, do your proper research! 

    How many builders are per hour in California?

    The average cost of builders per hour starts from $20 to $36. 

    Cost to Build A House in California FAQs

    How much does it cost to build a 2000 sq ft house in California?

    At a price of $350 per square foot, a house of size 2000 sq. ft. will cost $700,000 to build in California. 

    How much does it cost to build a house from scratch in California? 

    The average cost per square foot ranges from $300 to $500.However, building a home from scratch totally depends upon your choice of location and size of a house. Better is to hire a certified contractor for your house for proper permits and building codes. 

    Why is it so expensive to build a house in California?

    California is One of the largest states in the U.S. Building a home is difficult because buying land for housing is much more expensive, and the labour demands are also high in California as compared to the other states. These reasons make it expensive to build a house in the Golden State. 


    The cost of Building a house in California widely depends upon the location and size of the land. The average price per square foot ranges from $300-$500 and even more. The cost also varies due to the type of house you desire. A custom house costs more than a tract house. 

    The land costs are skyrocketing in California, So buying a house is cheaper than building a home in California. However, if you know the trading, materials and proper labour, you can also opt to build a house at reasonable costs.