How much does it cost to build a new home in Wisconsin? This is a question we get a lot from clients looking for a new place to call home. When inventory is low and people can’t find what they’re looking for, many consider building instead. Cost is a major factor, so in this article, we’ll explain more about how much building in Wisconsin is and how it compares to buying an existing home.
The cost to build a house in Wisconsin is a completely individualized process because there are so many factors. Location, style, size, quality of materials, and degree of customization are some major factors to consider. A very general equation for estimating the Cost to Build a House = Lot + Materials + Labor for Customization.
How Much Does Land Cost in Wisconsin?
When you build a house in Wisconsin, the first thing you need is a lot of land to build on.
- Do you own land already?
- Are you looking for a small lot in a subdivision?
- Are you looking for 40+ acres in the country?
How you answer this question will affect the overall cost to build.
Current Lots for Sale in Wisconsin
Let’s look at several current vacant land listings to get a rough idea of how much one acre of land costs in Wisconsin (prices below are from active listings on the MLS in February 2022).
- In Dane County, WI there are 1 acre lots for sale between $169,000 – $325,000.
- In Jefferson County, WI there are 1 acre lots for sale between $55,000 – $89,900.
- In Adams County, WI there are 1 acre lots for sale for $15,800 – $189,900.
- In Fond du Lac County, WI there are 1 acre lots for sale between $26,900 – $69,900.
Our vacant land for sale in Jefferson, WI costs around $29,900 for .25 acres or $124,900 for two acres.
As you can see, the cost to build a house in Wisconsin varies greatly beginning with the first part of the equation, the land.
Next, let’s talk about the cost to build per square foot.
How Much Does it Cost Per Square Foot to Build a House in Wisconsin?
Build costs are on the rise even after the surge in pricing over the past two years. Labor shortages, land preservation restrictions, supply chain difficulties, and demand all contribute to the rising prices for new construction.
It can cost anywhere from $225-$400+ per square foot to build a new house in Wisconsin right now, depending on things like location, customization, size, style, quality of materials, and need for extras like well and septic.
When you get an estimate from a home builder, it’s important to know what is actually included.
Here are a few factors that may not be included in the general cost to build per square foot depending on your builder and type of new construction:
- Covered Porches
- High-Tech Electrical Upgrades for Security & Smart Homes
- Appliance Packages
All of these additions to custom and semi-custom homes increase the price per square foot but not the measured square footage for appraisal and lending considerations.
Often it is cheaper and easier to add wishlist items like these while the house is being built, and that can complicate decisions for a consumer.
Having a detailed plan for a builder to review and making an itemized cost comparison as detailed as possible is the only way to know if estimates from different builders are comparing like items.
Most custom builders will use “allowances” for selections such as cabinetry, lighting, flooring, and plumbing fixtures. If a client stays within the allowance, the budget won’t bust. However, it is easy to be tempted by all the upgrade options, and with each of these, the cost to build your new house climbs higher.
Average Cost to Build a 1,500 Sq. Ft. House
If we used the rough estimate of $225-$440 per square foot, the average cost to build a 1,500 square foot house is $337,500-$660,000+.
Average Cost to Build a 2,000 Sq. Ft. House
For a 2,000 square foot house, the average cost to build is around $450,000-$880,000+.
Average Cost to Build a 2,500 Sq. Ft. House
The average cost to build a 2,500 sq. ft. home in Wisconsin is $562,500-$1,100,000.
Additional Costs for Building a New House
Keep in mind the cost to build a 1,500 or 2,500 square foot house does not include the extras like a screened in porch and an extra garage stall. Those will add to the total price to build.
So as you’re estimating the cost to build your dream house, make sure you also consider if these potential extras are needed:
3 Types of New Construction Home
When considering building a new home, there are three levels of customization. Production Homes or Spec Homes, which offer the least customization, Semi-Custom, and Custom Homes, which allow the most customization.
1) Production or ‘Spec’ Home Builders
Production homes are sometimes called “Spec Homes,” which is short for speculation that the home will sell. These houses are sold by large-volume builders and developers. If you work with a production home builder, there are likely a limited number of floor plan and customization options.
In South-Eastern Wisconsin, some well-known production home builders are:
- Loos Homes
- William Ryan
In today’s market, there may be no customization possible because builders have to order materials so far in advance that buyers are often not even in the picture yet during the planning phase.
2) Semi-Custom Home Builders
Semi-custom builders can often include the same list of customization options as a production home builder, but you can expect to pay more for semi-custom changes than with a custom builder.
The cost to build semi-custom homes varies greatly depending on builder, amenities chosen, size of house, and location.
3) Custom Home Builders
Custom homes are uniquely built for each individual home buyer. If you were to build a home by a custom home builder, you would choose everything from the size, layout, number of rooms, floors, windows, exterior, cabinets, and countertops.
Custom house builders will help a client with acquiring a lot of land, designing the home, permitting, general contracting, home building, and often custom landscaping support and supervision.
Some trusted custom home builders in South-Eastern Wisconsin are:
- Classic Homes & Remodeling
- John Michael Homes
- Kaerek Homes
- Ulrich Builders
Custom home building is not always the most costly option, and it can be highly personalized and relational if you find the right builder.
To find a home builder that will be great to work with in your area, ask around for local recommendations. Ask subcontractors who they like working with and call the building inspector in town to see which builders get the most complaints, compliments, or code violations.
Cost to Build a House Calculator
“Cost to Build” has an interesting free calculator you can use to calculate a very rough estimate for the cost to build a new house or garage.
This tool shows you some of the things to consider when building a new house. If you’re like most people, you’ll see the many ways it’s tempting to upgrade to bigger, more customized, and better quality materials.
While this is fun for designing a dream home, the reality is upgrades can significantly increase the total cost to build.
Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy a House in Wisconsin?
In most areas right now, it is cheaper to buy an existing house than to build a new house if you are comparing similar properties.
However, when building a house you can get exactly what you want, where you want it. The items would be brand new, including large-ticket items like the roof, windows, water heater, furnace, air conditioner, and appliances.
Is 2022 a Good Year to Build a House?
If you’re set on building a house, yes! Waiting will likely only cost you in the long run. Material prices are likely staying where they are or increasing, and interest rates appear to be continuing to climb.
Plus, the sooner you begin the building process, the sooner you’ll be living in your dream home, rather than just dreaming about it.
However, if you’re thinking the building process and costs may not be the right fit for you, then buying an existing home is another excellent option for finding a place you love to live.
Interest rates are still low, and people who wait usually wish they had done it sooner.
So take the next baby step toward building or buying your new home by contacting a local real estate expert today. No matter which option you choose, our goal at RE/MAX Shine is always for you to shine in a house you love!
-Written by Val Breit
Save This Cost to Build Guide for Later
Want to come back to this article later? Save it to Pinterest and share it with anyone you know thinking about building or buying a new house.
Curious about buying instead of building? Check out our Guide for Home Buyers in How to Buy a House in Wisconsin.