Cost to Build a House in Arkansas: Complete Guide for 2024

In Arkansas, the cost of building a home is about $126 per square foot. So a 2,000 square foot home would be approximately $252,000. However, the total price ranges from $220,000 to $550,000 depending on location, property type, labour, materials, etc. The process takes an average of 9-12 months.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost per square foot ranges from $100-$200
  • Average cost is $126/square foot
  • A 2,000 sq ft home costs $251,800 on average
  • Total price ranges from $225,000-$500,000
  • Build time is typically 9-12 months

The Average Home Building Expenses in Arkansas

The average cost to build a home in Arkansas is about $125.9 per square foot. According to Forbes, for a 2,000 square foot house, expect to pay roughly $251,800. However, total construction costs range anywhere from $220,000 on the low end to $550,000 for larger luxury homes, depending on factors like location, materials, features and labour.

Also read: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House Alaska

Average Cost Based On Square Footage in Arkansas

Square FootageAverage Cost Ranges
500 sq ft$63,000 – $100,000
1000 sq ft$126,000 – $200,000
1500 sq ft$189,000 – $300,000
2000 sq ft$252,000 – $400,000
2500 sq ft$315,000 – $500,000
3000 sq ft$378,000 – $600,000
3500 sq ft$441,000 – $700,000
4000 sq ft$504,000 – $800,000
4500 sq ft$567,000 – $900,000
5000 sq ft$630,000 – $1,000,000

Costs by Arkansas City

CityCost per Sq. Ft.
Little Rock$150
Fort Smith$135
Pine Bluff$115
Hot Springs$130

House Building Expenses Across States in United States

StateAverage Amount
New Jersey$376,900
New York$360,180
North Carolina$301,500
North Dakota$212,500

Also read: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House Alabama

A Comprehensive Guide to the Cost Breakdown of Building a House in Arkansas

Land Acquisition Costs

The first step in constructing a new house is purchasing a lot. Empty land generally sells between $15,000 and $150,000 depending on the location, size, infrastructure, zoning, and other attributes. More desirable lots in thriving real estate markets sell for premium prices compared to rural land. Smaller parcels also cost more per square foot than larger acreage. You’ll also incur costs to clear, survey, connect utilities, etc. to raw land. So your lot selection greatly sways overall budgets.

Material Expenses

Construction materials constitute a significant portion of total budgets. The quality, aesthetics, durability, and environmental-friendliness of building materials significantly impact pricing. Luxury homes with high-end finishes, custom designs, and premium materials have much higher material costs than more affordable starter homes. Brick exteriors, stonework, hardwood floors, and granite countertops boost expenses faster than vinyl, laminate, and other value-engineered alternatives. Shop material options carefully to balance long-term value versus upfront costs.

House Design Factors

The architectural plans also bear considerable weight on what a house ultimately costs. Larger square footage homes logically have higher material and labor costs. But design elements like roof pitch, building shape, number of floors, and layout efficiency also sway pricing quite a bit. Multi-level houses generally cost more per square foot than single story ranch-style homes. Extremely complex rooflines, detailing, and angular shapes strain construction budgets. Optimizing plans to maximize simplicity and efficiency controls expenses. Consider starting smaller for your first custom home build.

Contractor vs DIY Building

You can either hire a qualified local construction company to build your home or take on the project yourself. Paying an experienced professional crew ensures correct processes but adds markup for overhead and profit. Alternatively, many homeowners act as general contractors to save on labour. If you have expertise with home building requirements and processes in your area, self-performing some portion of the work can minimise costs. However keep in mind common pitfalls like permit issues, injury risks, build quality problems, and project delays.

Geographic Location Impacts

Another major factor determining the overall price is which city, suburb, or county you decide to build within. Construction expenses can fluctuate dramatically even across different zip codes. Desirable neighbourhoods with booming growth, short supply, high median incomes, etc. have elevated build costs. Also account for differences in permit costs, inspection policies, utility connection fees, and relevant building codes. Analyse market conditions carefully as you select promising locations to erect a home within budget.

Financing Costs

Very few new home builders can afford to pay for the entire construction process out-of-pocket. Most utilise a construction loan which covers costs as they’re incurred, then convert to a traditional mortgage upon completion. The interest rates, loan origination fees, draw schedules, and financing terms sway totals. Also factor in expenses to apply, get approved, and administer the building loan. Having a large down payment and excellent credit score helps obtain favourable financing.


Even the best-laid plans often go awry during home construction. Unanticipated issues like uncooperative weather, flawed materials, specialised engineering needs, tricky foundation soils, or skill shortages can easily balloon costs. Smart builders pad estimates with a 10-20% contingency reserve for handling unknowns. Avoid draining contingency funds on upgrades or unnecessary changes. Carefully tracking expenses also helps complete projects on-budget despite surprises.

The wide range in pricing demonstrates why nailing down accurate costs requires due diligence across these impacting factors. Building an accurate, detailed budget removes nasty financial surprises down the road. Now let’s examine typical per square foot building costs based on these determinants.

Also read: How Much Does it Cost to Build a House Utah

Step-by-Step Process to Build a House in Arkansas

Constructing a home from scratch involves orchestrating many intricate steps in proper order. Here is a simplified look at the 12 major milestones when building a house:

  1. Purchase Land: Identify and buy a suitable residential lot for development. Confirm zoning allows housing.
  2. Survey Property: Document precise acreage, boundaries, elevation changes, easements, etc.
  3. Evaluate Utilities: Assess options to connect electricity, water, sewer, gas lines to the site.
  4. Complete Architectural Plans: Finalize technical drawings for structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems.
  5. Secure Permits: Submit proper applications to obtain legal building permissions.
  6. Clear & Prepare Land: Grade lot, demolish existing structures, improve access roads.
  7. Pour Foundation: Dig then fill forms with concrete to create a level base.
  8. Frame Structure: Assemble lumber walls, floors, roofs aligned on foundation.
  9. Roofing, Windows & Doors: Waterproof and enclose the building envelope.
  10. MEP Systems: Rout mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems throughout.
  11. Interior Finishes: Insulate, drywall, paint walls and ceilings. Install fixtures/trims.
  12. Landscape & Hardscape: Layer in exterior enhancements to complete the property.

This simplified sequence defines the order of major milestones. Now let’s examine cost-saving tips to build more affordably.

Tips for Building Affordably

Here are great ways to build in Arkansas without blowing your budget:

  • Stick to Basic Floorplan – Keep it simple with a rectangular shape. Limit bumpouts, dormers and bonus spaces which raise costs.
  • One-Story Design – Forgo a basement and attic for cheaper foundation and roofing.
  • Use Standard Materials – Opt for mid-range grades rather than premium finishes which add little value.
  • DIY Landscaping/Decor – Save thousands by installing your own driveway, fencing, painting etc.
  • Get Quotes from Multiple Builders – Compare rates as pricing varies widely. Local contractors are often most affordable.
  • Consider Modular or Prefab – Factory built homes installed onsite can provide dramatic savings.

Factors That Increase Price Per Square Foot

Several elements can raise per square foot pricing drastically for Arkansas custom homes or luxury residences:

  • Prime Location – building in desirable cities or neighbourhoods
  • Hillside or Problematic Soil Site – extra foundation expenses
  • Multi-Story Design – higher material/labour costs
  • Specialized Architecture – complex layouts, curved walls, vaulted ceilings
  • Luxury Features – high-end finishes and fixtures
  • Energy Efficiency Upgrades – better insulation, windows, mechanicals
  • Smart Home Automation – lighting, A/V, electrical integration
  • Outdoor Living Upgrades – pools, kitchens, landscape features
  • ADUs or Guest Houses – additional dwellings increase pricing

Tips for Controlling Your Building Expenses

Here are great ways to curb pricing for your new home construction in Arkansas:

Purchase an Affordable Lot

The lot itself accounts for 15-30% of total project costs on average. Seek smaller lots in lower cost suburbs or exurbs over premium sites in high demand neighbourhoods. This alone can save tens of thousands.

Prioritise Must-Have Amenities

Establish budget guardrails early in design. Distinguish essential features from unnecessary luxuries that shoot budgets upwards. Focus spending on priorities like the kitchen, master suite and utilities.

Research Local Builders

Solicit multiple bids. Vet each contractor’s experience and sample projects thoroughly. Aim for quality local custom builders with strong value appeal and transparency over national “semi-custom” operators.

Use Efficient Floorplans

Smart architectural design optimises spaces while minimising unnecessary square footage and wasted areas. Work with a great designer well-versed in budget home plans.

Purchase Materials Yourself

Acting as the owner-builder or construction manager lets you source discounted supplies directly. Just make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle.

Finish Lower-Priority Spaces Later

Leave basements, additional bedrooms or outdoor spaces unfinished initially. Move in then complete them over years as the budget allows.

Proper planning is crucial when assessing the overall costs involved with constructing a home in Arkansas. Following expert guidance to establish realistic budgets then control expenses along the process leads to successful outcomes.

How Long Does It Take to Build a House in Arkansas

Another consideration is the timeframe to build a new home. You must factor in:

  • Planning/Design – Finalising house plans takes 1-3 months
  • Permits – Local permitting takes 2-6 weeks on average
  • Site Work – Prepping the lot takes 2-4 weeks
  • Construction – The building phase ranges 6-12 months
  • Inspections/CO – Final inspections and certificate of occupancy takes 1-2 weeks

Altogether, expect 9-12 months from breaking ground to getting keys for your new Arkansas home. Rushing the schedule usually leads to more headaches and higher costs.

House Building Financing Options

Here are some of the most common financing options for building a house in Arkansas:

  • Personal Savings – Self-financing with your own savings avoids interest costs but requires having significant cash on hand.
  • CD or Personal Loan – Banks may offer secured loans using certificates of deposits or assets as collateral if you have strong credit.
  • 401K/Retirement Account Loans – You can borrow against retirement savings without tax penalties to pay for home construction.
  • Home Equity Loan – If you have sufficient equity built up in an owned property, banks can lend based on a percentage of equity.
  • USDA & VA Loans – Special mortgages help qualified buyers in rural areas get 100% financing with competitive rates/terms.
  • Construction Loans – Offered by banks & credit unions specifically for building homes based on the projected appraised value.
  • Investor Financing – Some firms provide short-term loans for construction projects if you agree to flip or refinance at completion.

Benefits of Building Your Own Home in Arkansas

  • Complete customization to your family’s needs & preferences
  • Personalise layout, design elements, finishes, features & more
  • Construct home using higher quality materials and building standards
  • Get brand new roofing, HVAC, appliances, electric and plumbing
  • Experience latest innovations in technology, products & design
  • Highly energy efficient/lower utility bills with modern construction
  • Exact neighbourhood and lot placement of your choosing
  • Excellent long-term property value potential
  • No existing flaws, quirks or necessary upgrades from previous owners
  • Perfect place to comfortably spend decades raising a family
  • Opportunity to incorporate health-focused elements like indoor air quality

Is It Cheaper to Buy an Existing Home?

Given the high price tag, some wonder if buying an existing house makes more financial sense. Resale homes often trade for $100-$200 per square foot in most Arkansas residential areas.

So for a 2,000 square foot home, you may spend $200,000 to $300,000. This presents big potential savings over new construction.

However, buying older homes have downsides like:

  • Potential for deferred maintenance and hidden issues
  • Higher energy bills from outdated HVAC systems
  • Necessary renovations add more costs
  • Less customization compared to new builds
  • Pricing gains in hot real estate markets

Building vs. Buying a House: Key Differences

Building a custom home allows you to construct your ideal residence tailored to your family’s needs and preferences. You can choose the layout, design elements like ceilings and windows, finishes, lot location, and special features. This personal customization leads to maximum functionality and enjoyment. With new construction you also get brand new systems and components including the roof, appliances, flooring, paint etc. So you likely won’t face maintenance issues, repairs or replacements for 15+ years after moving in.

On the flip side, purchasing a resale home costs significantly less per square foot. And you can move right in without waiting nearly a year for construction. However, older homes often come with hidden flaws, quirks and deferred upgrades from previous owners. Poor quality or dated components like plumbing and HVAC may present problems sooner than later. Plus relevant updates and renovations add more out-of-pocket costs over time. Location options are also more limited to existing homes currently on the market.

So the trade-off boils down to cost savings vs. personalization when weighing new construction against buying. If budget is the priority, an older resale home makes sense despite drawbacks. But investing more upfront to build new enables designing your dream home tailored to fit your lifestyle.

Working With Builders in Arkansas

Since constructing a house is complex, nearly all buyers enlist an experienced local builder/contractor to helm the project. Reputable Arkansas firms help:

  • Guide home design for optimal functionality and cost efficiency
  • Vet and coordinate subcontractors
  • Manage permitting/inspections
  • Supervise day-to-day building activities
  • Provide transparent pricing with no hidden surprises

This relieves the stresses of personally overseeing everything. Plus, established contractors have relationships with tradespeople and suppliers to get better rates on required materials and labour.

Be sure to get quotes from 3-5 top area construction firms when considering custom new home building projects in Arkansas. Many offer free consultations and estimate breakdowns listing all costs.

Also request examples of past works with client references to gauge their quality of work. Checking a contractor’s licensing and insurance paperwork is an absolute must before signing any contracts too.

Doing diligent research gives you the best chance of getting reasonable pricing and choosing a builder you can trust.

Final Thoughts

Building a new home in The Natural State typically runs between $100 to $200 per square foot. So Arkansas home buyers can expect to spend $250,000 to $550,000 for a nicely appointed 2,000 sq. ft. house. Total pricing is influenced mainly by location, size, materials and custom features. With good planning, most households can build a comfortable home that meets their needs without breaking the bank!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does it cost to build a house in Arkansas?

The average cost to build a house in Arkansas is about $125 per square foot. For a 2,000 square foot home, expect to pay around $252,000. Total costs range from $220,000 to $500,000.

How much does it cost to build a 2,000 sq ft house in Arkansas?

A 2,000 square foot house will cost approximately $251,800 to build in Arkansas or $126 per square foot. The total price will vary based on materials, location, features, etc.

How much does it cost to build a 3,000 sq ft house in Arkansas?

For a larger 3,000 square foot custom home in Arkansas, estimated building costs range from $375,000 to $750,000 or $100 to $200 per square foot.

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

In Washington state, building a 2,000 square foot home averages around $343,100 or per sq ft $171.55. Prices run higher than Arkansas.

How much does it cost to build a house in Texas?

Texas home building costs for 2024 come out to roughly $132.05 per sq ft on average. A 2,000 sq ft house would cost approximately $264,100 to construct in Texas right now.

How much does it cost to build a 3000 sq ft house in Georgia?

Construction costs in Georgia average 136.93 per square foot as of 2024. So for a 3,000 square foot home you can expect an overall price of $410,790.

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