Cost of Building a House in NZ

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It’s the most common question we get asked – what is the cost of building a house in New Zealand? Most people say – how long’s a piece of string? But we’re not going to give some vague answer, we want to create clarity around the topic. 

The Minimum Cost 

Budget on $2500 per square metre for starters to get your mind in the right place. No, you can’t build a 300m2 home for $450,000 like you can in Australia. Yes, 180m2 might be a more realistic size for that budget. 

We had a client in 2018 build a 300m2 home for $2200/m2. It was in Northland, on a flat site, with a cost effective builder, 2.55m stud, large living, fairly standard specification. At the same time its super easy to get over $3000/m2  as soon as the site is anything steeper than flat, retaining walls get introduced and you start wanting to customise (as we all do) the design. 

Some group builders are not pricing anything under $2800 a square metre. 

Note: A Square metre (m2) is a 1m by 1m square box. The area should be measured from the exterior of the wall framing. Ex
cludes eaves, decks, driveway etc. For two storey homes add the downstairs m2 to the upstairs m2. 

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Where do the figures above stop and start?

Generally speaking they include everything from a bare section to the time its built, including things like plans, consents, kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, decks, but excluding landscaping, furniture, furnishings, concrete driveways and so forth. 
 
The above excluded items are things you need to have as additional items in your budget. So often we see homes that end up unfinished without the final touches as the budget has run dry with no allowance for landscaping and furnishing. 

What Pushes Cost Up? 
There’s a few immediate giveaways that you’re going to creep towards the $3000/m2 region: 

– Elevated sites, exposed to the wind
– Steep (or even not so steep) sites that require retaining walls
– Unsuitable ground requiring engineering design
– Large square metres of glass (leading to steel portals)
– Open expanses of living areas (requiring engineering due to lack of bracing)
– Canter-levered decks, roofs, floors
– Expensive cladding (like cedar) & roofing (tray roofing) 
– Difficult site access
– Any build methods that are time consuming

With all our designs we ‘de-engineer’ them as much as possible to keep the home within your budget, and we do budget costing along the way. There’s no point designing a home you can’t afford! 

But why is it so expensive? 

You can argue till you’re black and blue as to why the building costs are so more expensive in New Zealand than Australia, but one thing you’re not going to change – the building costs. 

Have a look at our two below blog posts which will dive deeper into this topic:
– Why Is Building In NZ So Expensive? 
– Building: Design & Consenting Costs  

Kitset Homes are Cheap, Aren’t They?

Yes, the ‘home’ is extremely affordable. It arrives flat-packed on a truck, ready to be erected. But slow down a second, factor in earthworks (20k), service connections (8k), septic system (15k), decks, labour, appliances, fitout, bathroom fittings…the list goes on, and the cheap $120,000 home has suddenly become a $200,000 home, if not more. 

Any company that starts promising homes for unusually low prices you need to take a good hard look at what is and isn’t included, often they use the low prices to attract clients, sell and deliver the home then leave you floundering with extra costs. 

We’ve Given You A Starting Point

Anyone associated with the building industry could challenge our above stated figures, for sure. It’s very easy to build a house at $5000/m2, depending on the size, location and specification. In fact some Architects won’t accept you as a client unless you’ve got over $4000/m2 to spend on your home. 

 
So use the above figures with caution, and remember they’re ballpark, approximate, and don’t budget for less than $2500/m2. 

Lastly – If want some expert advice on exactly how and where you should spend your budget on your new home, 
contact the Arcline Team to start your journey to your new home today. 

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