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

In Delaware, it costs roughly $163 per square foot to construct a new home. So a 2,000 square foot house would run about $326,000. Factoring in land, permits, fees and contingencies, expect to spend $300,000 to $500,000 plus overall. Completing new home construction typically takes 9-12 months in the state. Key drivers of cost per square foot are location, size, materials, special features and labour.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost per square foot ranges from $150 to $250
  • Average cost $163 per sq ft in Delaware
  • A 2,000 sq ft home costs around $326,000 to build
  • With land, permits, fees, etc. total cost ranges $300,000 – $500,000 plus
  • It takes 9-12 months to complete new home construction

The Average Home Building Cost in Delaware

The average cost to build a house in the US is $150 per square foot. In Delaware specifically, construction costs average $163.53 per square foot. A 2,000 square foot Delaware home would therefore run about $327,060 to build, according to Forbes. Factoring in land, permits and other fees, expect to spend $300,000 to $500,000 plus total. Home prices in Delaware were up 9.6% in December 2023 over 2022, with the median sale price now at $337,600 according to Redfin data.

Also read: Cost to Build a House in California

Average Cost Based On Square Footage in Delaware

Square FootageAverage Cost Ranges
500 sq ft$81,500 – $125,000
1000 sq ft$163,000 – $250,000
1500 sq ft$244,500 – $375,000
2000 sq ft$326,000 – $500,000
2500 sq ft$407,500 – $625,000
3000 sq ft$489,000 – $750,000
3500 sq ft$570,500 – $875,000
4000 sq ft$652,000 – $1,000,000
4500 sq ft$733,500 – $1,125,000
5000 sq ft$815,000 – $1,250,000

Average Cost to Build a House in Delaware By Number of Bedrooms

Number of BedroomsTypical Home Size (Square Feet)Average Cost
21,200 – 1,500$180,000 – $300,000
31,800 – 2,200$250,000 – $375,000
42,400 – 2,800$325,000 – $475,000
53,000 – 3,500$400,000 – $575,000

Average Cost to Build a House in Delaware by Number of Stories

Number of StoriesTypical Home Size (Square Feet)Average Cost
1 (Ranch/Bungalow)1,500 – 2,500$230,000 – $400,000
1.5 (Split-Level)1,800 – 2,800$260,000 – $450,000
2 (Colonial/Cape Cod)2,000 – 3,500$300,000 – $525,000
2.52,500 – 4,000$375,000 – $600,000
3 (Multi-Story)3,000 – 5,000$450,000 – $750,000+

Price to Build a House in Delaware by Style

StyleTypical Size (sq ft)Average CostNotes
Ranch/Bungalow1,500 – 2,500$230,000 – $400,000Simple layout, single floor, cost-effective.
Colonial2,000 – 3,500$300,000 – $525,000Symmetrical façade, spacious interiors, higher cost.
Cape Cod1,800 – 2,800$275,000 – $450,000Steeper roof pitch, dormers, charming aesthetic.
Contemporary2,200 – 3,800$350,000 – $600,000Open floor plan, clean lines, large windows, higher construction costs.
Craftsman2,000 – 3,200$325,000 – $500,000Exposed beams, natural materials, inviting porches, moderate cost.
Victorian2,500 – 4,000$400,000 – $650,000+Ornate details, turrets, bay windows, complex construction, high cost.
Modern Farmhouse2,000 – 3,500$325,000 – $525,000Modern twist on traditional farmhouse, open floor plan, shiplap accents, moderate cost.
Tiny House200 – 600$20,000 – $100,000Minimalist living, unique design, significant cost savings but may require permits and regulations.

Average Cost to Build a House in Delaware by Cities

CityAverage Costs Ranges Per Sq. Ft. 
Wilmington$153 – $230
Middletown$180 – $220
Sussex County$200 – $250
Dover$122 – $183
Newark$126 – $189
Lewes$126 – $189
Milford$153 – $230
Seaford$153 – $230

House Building Expenses Across States in US

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

Also read: Cost to Build a House in Connecticut

Cost Breakdown of Building a House in Delaware

On average, you can expect the following budget breakdown across the major phases of a new home construction project:

Land Acquisition Costs: $50,000 to $250,000+

This includes the purchase price of the home lot as well as expenses like surveys, permits, legal fees and title transfers. Costs vary drastically based on location and market demand.

Planning, Permits & Fees: $15,000 to $50,000

Architectural designs, drafting, permitting, impact fees and inspections from local municipalities. Custom designs and permit delays can drive budgets up.

Site Work & Foundations: $65,000 to $150,000

Prepping, clearing, grading and excavating the lot properly is crucial before pouring footings and foundations. This also includes costs to install sewer/septic, water, gas and electric lines.

Framing & Roofing: $55,000 to $140,000

Framing labor and materials along with trusses, sheathing, shingles, and all roofing finishings. The shape/pitch of the roof will impact costs.

Siding, Windows & Doors: $65,000 to $130,000

This includes hanging all exterior siding, installing windows/exterior doors, adding stone/brick veneer, painting, and exterior finish trims.

Utilities & HVAC: $50,000 to $100,000

Running electrical, plumbing and HVAC throughout the home. Also includes costs for lighting fixtures, appliance packages, toilets/tubs, garage doors and insulation.

Drywall & Painting: $15,000 to $35,000

Hanging, finishing and painting drywall throughout the interior. Texture and molding inclusion affects pricing.

Flooring Installation: $20,000 to $60,000

Materials and labor for flooring types like hardwood, tile, stone and carpeting. Costs vary widely based on material grades and home size.

Interior Fixtures & Doors: $40,000 to $140,000

Installing cabinetry, countertops, sinks/faucets, interior doors, railings, shelving, mirrors and bathroom fixtures. Also includes costs for garage storage systems.

Landscaping & Hardscaping: $15,000 to $80,000

Optional exterior upgrades like planting trees/shrubs, building patios, walkways, fences, pools, outdoor kitchens and fire pits.

Total Construction Cost for 2,000 sq ft Home: $326,000

As you can see, a major portion of new construction budgets goes towards materials and professional labor. Homeowners should carefully weigh decisions that significantly increase square footage or use very high-end materials. While luxury options can provide comfort, aesthetics and resale value, they also raise your mortgage principal and interest costs over the long term.

Also read: Cost to Build a House in Chicago

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

  1. Find and purchase land or a lot
  2. Hire an architect and design the house plans
  3. Get required permits and have plans approved
  4. Clear the lot, install utilities and prepare the site
  5. Pour concrete foundation and build the house frame
  6. Complete exterior finishes like roofing, siding and windows
  7. Install interior components like drywall, paint, flooring
  8. Complete final inspections and gain certificate of occupancy
  9. Finish landscaping, fencing and other exterior touches
  10. Furnish and decorate the interior, then move in

Factors That Impact the Cost to Build a House in Delaware

When budgeting for a new home build, here are some of the main factors that can raise costs:

  • House Size: The square footage and number of floors directly impact overall budgets. Larger homes cost more to frame, roof, side, furnish, etc.
  • Custom Design: Creating full custom home plans is more expensive than using standardized designs. Architect fees typically range from 8-15% of the total build budget.
  • Property Size & Location: Building on acreage or in high-demand areas raises land acquisition budgets significantly. Permits and surveys also fluctuate by county/city jurisdiction.
  • High-End Materials: Using premium finishes like marble, granite, hardwoods and tile can add tens of thousands in material costs alone. Labor is also higher.
  • Energy Efficiency Features: Options like geothermal HVAC, triple-glazed windows, extra insulation, solar power and ductless systems have high upfront costs.
  • Smart Home Technology: Whole-home automation, indoor/outdoor sound systems, security features and wired networking can run up technology budgets quickly.

Other variables like custom landscaping, pools, detached garages, ADUs and drainage infrastructure can also impact the final budget.

Saving on Costs Through the Build Process

While building a custom residence allows you to really dial in the features and finishes that matter most, you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to enjoy your ideal refuge. There are several smart strategies for controlling costs along the way:

  • Optimize the Floorplan – Work closely with your designer to maximize every inch without overbuilding. Focus on efficient room sizes and multipurpose spaces.
  • Phase Construction – Break projects into phases to spread costs over time. Complete basic shell then finish basement or carriage house later as budget allows.
  • Use Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) – Prefab, engineered SIPs are energy efficient and speed framing time. Big cost and labor saver.
  • Incorporate Multi-functional Features – For example, utilize retaining walls for yard structure and stairs while also delineating private zones.
  • Purchase Your Own Materials – Pay retail with tax savings rather than absorbing builder markup. Just confirm warranty coverage restrictions.
  • Act As Your Own General Contractor – Subcontract work in phases handling communication and scheduling yourself if you have the bandwidth.
  • Offer Flexible Payment Terms – Incentivize subs to provide you their best deals by offering quick payments upon hitting key milestones. Cash keeps things moving.
  • Finish Items Yourself – Painting, staining, minor trim and landscaping are relatively easy DIY tasks for big savings.

The constructability of your floorplans, flexibility around phasing and materials along with your personal involvement/sweat equity allow you to modulate costs substantially. Having an expert builder to oversee the technical aspects gives peace of mind so you can plug in to whatever degree matches your skills, interests and schedule.

How Long Does it Take to Build a House in Delaware?

You also need to factor in the time it will take to construct your new home. From start to finish, expect the complete building process to take 9-12 months with a typical timeline as follows:

  • Planning & Design – Finalize house plans, secure financing, permits – 1-3 months
  • Site Work – Clear land, dig foundations, septic, utilities – 1-2 months
  • Framing – Structure, roofing, exterior finishes – 1-2 months
  • Systems – Electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems – 1-2 months
  • Interior Finishes – Drywall, paint, flooring, trim – 1-2 months
  • Landscaping & Move-in – 1 month

Delays from weather, permitting, material shortages, or other factors could push the schedule out even longer in some cases. So when budgeting your project, be sure to account for about a year of time from start to finish.

House Building Financing Options

  • Savings – Self-financing all or part of construction from your existing savings. Allows you to avoid interest fees but requires having significant cash on hand.
  • Bank Construction Loans – Banks provide loans specifically to finance building costs, usually paid out incrementally as stages complete. Require good credit, income, and repayment plans.
  • Mortgages – Traditional home loans to finance the property purchase and a portion of building costs. Typically need 20% down payment plus closing fees.
  • USDA & VA loans – Special federal programs offering 0% down mortgages for qualifying rural or military buyers building a home. Limited availability.
  • Family Loans – Borrowing from family members to fully or partially finance construction. Usually better terms than banks but can complicate relationships.
  • Contractor Financing – Some builders offer in-house lending products to finance projects, often tied to using their building services. May lack flexibility.
  • Home Equity Loans – Tapping equity from an existing home to cash-out finance building a new home, if equity allows. Variable rates may rise over time.

Choosing a Reputable Home Builder

Hiring an experienced local home builder is crucial for minimizing headaches and ensuring quality results when undertaking new home construction in Delaware. Here are some tips for vetting potential contractors:

  • Check References – Reach out to past clients to inquire about their overall satisfaction.
  • Verify Licenses – Ensure all licenses and insurances are current.
  • Seek Referrals – Ask trusted local realtors, architects and industry pros for builder recommendations.
  • Review Portfolios – Look at examples of past work to assess quality and style.
  • Interview Finalists – Have in-depth discussions regarding budgets, timelines and communication policies.
  • Trust Your Gut – Your interpersonal chemistry and comfort level are telling indicators of future success.

Investing the time upfront to carefully select your home builder pays huge dividends in risk reduction and overall peace of mind. Rushing this decision to save money often backfires.

Architectural Design Options

One of the most exciting parts of a new home build is designing it from the ground up to match your aesthetic tastes and lifestyle needs. Delaware home buyers have an abundance of great design options thanks to:

  • Coastal Architecture – Beachside cottages and coastal colonials are popular thanks to Delaware’s shoreline. Light tones, ample windows and spacious decks capture the environs.
  • Farmhouse Style – Many regions feature farmland views lending themselves to traditional farmhouse architecture. Wraparound porches, generous eaves and vintage accents play well here.
  • Craftsman Looks – Arts & Crafts style homes are enjoying a major revival thanks to their timeless charm. Characteristics include exposed beams, built-in shelves, large porches and an overall cozy allure.
  • Cottage Charm – Intimate bungalows and cottages speak to minimalist modern tastes. Smaller cozy spaces emphasize efficiency along with tiny home sensibilities.
  • Custom Touches – Since you’re building from scratch, it’s easy to incorporate custom features like wet bars, wine cellars, media rooms and dual master suites to create your dream refuge.

A reputable designer can help translate your style visions into buildable floor plans and 3D renderings during the planning phase so you can clearly visualize the end results before construction even begins.

Investing in great design is one of the smartest expenditures when planning a custom home build. It makes the difference between simply erecting walls versus creating a nurturing sanctuary tailored to your needs. This can easily provide a 10X return relative to the small fraction of the overall budget allocated to design fees.

Benefits of Building Your Own Home in Delaware

  • Customization – Design home exactly as you want with features/layout you prefer
  • Cost savings – Potential to save vs buying existing home, especially in hot markets
  • Equity & value – Custom homes can yield higher resale value and equity growth
  • Pride in ownership – Personal satisfaction and memories creating perfect home
  • Quality materials – Oversee and hand pick all construction materials used
  • Ideal location – Build in an ideal neighbourhood with access to amenities
  • Property investment – Own land which may appreciate separately from house
  • Tax incentives – Possible tax deductions available for mortgage interest
  • Stability – Lock in housing costs by owning instead of rents rising

Building vs. Buying a House: Key Differences

Building a new home allows for complete customization to suit your tastes and needs. You can select the layout, materials, lot location, features and more. However, constructing a home costs more upfront and takes substantial time, typically 9 months to a year. It requires securing financing, paying for land, and overseeing the building process.

Buying an existing home is faster and has lower upfront costs. Closing can happen in as little as 1 month and you avoid land purchase and construction costs. However, you are limited to purchasing whatever inventory is available on the market. This means you may need to compromise on location, size, layout and features unless extensive renovations are made. Buying can make more sense for those wanting immediate housing or lacking time and cash to build.

The key trade-off is customization versus speed and lower initial costs. Building makes sense if you plan to live in your home for many years and want it tailored exactly how you desire. Buying works better for those needing quick housing or lacking the budgets that new construction demands.

The Bottom Line

Building a house in Delaware costs approximately $164 per square foot. Constructing a 2,000 square foot home would therefore run about $328,000. Factoring in additional expenses like purchasing land, securing permits, excavation work, and contingencies, you should budget $320,000 to $520,000 overall. Several key variables like location, materials, special features, and labor availability influence the final total as well. But using the base price per square foot provides a reasonable starting point for estimating new home construction costs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does it cost to build a house in Delaware County?

In New Castle county, average construction costs are around $163 per square foot. So a 2,000 square foot home would be around $326,000 plus to build. Budget around $300k-$500k+ with land and fees.

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

Building a home in Delaware can cost anywhere from $150 to $250 per square foot. The average cost per square foot is $163. So building a 2,000 square foot home in the state costs $300,000 to $500,000 plus. The average cost of 2,000 square feet is $327,060 and varies by location and finish.

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

Building a home in Delaware can cost anywhere from $150 to $250 per square foot. The average cost per square foot is $163. So building a 3,000 square foot home in the state costs $350,000 to $600,000 plus. The average cost of 3,000 square feet is $489,000 and varies by location and finish.

How long does it take to build a house in Delaware?

The full construction process averages 270-360 days in Delaware.

Why is it so cheap to live in Delaware?

Delaware has no sales tax which saves substantially on costs for goods/services. Home prices are also reasonable compared to nearby states, with lower property taxes.

How much does it cost to build a house in the US?

Nationwide average cost to build is around $150 per square foot. So a 2,000 sq foot house would be about $300,000.


Razib is a skilled writer with 5 years of experience specializing in technology, finance, automotive and real estate. A BBA graduate from 2014, Razib's passion for these industries shines through in his informative and engaging content. His ability to break down complex topics and stay current on the latest trends makes him a valuable resource for readers seeking to understand these dynamic fields.

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