Cost to Build a House in Virginia: Complete Idea for 2024

In Virginia, on average the cost of building a new house is approximately $155 per square foot. So for a 2,000 square foot home, expect to spend around $310,000. However, total prices range from $262,000 to $390,000 depending on factors like location, property type, customization, labor, and materials. The full build process usually spans 9-12 months.

Key Takeaways

  • Average cost to build is $155 per square foot
  • The cost typically ranges from $100 to $200 per square foot. 
  • A 2,000 sq ft home costs $310,000 to build
  • Total range is $262,000 – $390,000
  • Location, property type, labor, materials all impact costs
  • Full build time is 9-12 months

The Average Cost Building a Home in Virginia

The average cost of building a new house in Virginia is $155.05 per square foot. However, prices range from $100 to $200 per square foot depending on the location and features. For a 2,000 square foot home, the total expense is around $310,100. But the overall cost to construct a house can be as low as $200,000 or as high as $400,000 based on factors like property type, customization, labor, and materials used. Careful budgeting is essential with the significant variation.

Average Cost Based On Square Footage in Virginia

Square FootageAverage Cost Ranges
500 sq ft$77,500 – $100,000
1000 sq ft$55,000 – $200,000
1500 sq ft$232,500 – $300,000
2000 sq ft$310,000 – $400,000
2500 sq ft$387,500 – $500,000
3000 sq ft$465,000 – $600,000
3500 sq ft$542,500 – $700,000
4000 sq ft$620,000 – $800,000
4500 sq ft$697,500 – $900,000
5000 sq ft$775,000 – $1,00,000

The Average Cost to Build a House Across The US State

South Dakota$204,420
South Carolina$301,840
Rhode Island$338,180
North Dakota$212,500
New York$360,180
New Mexico$290,940
New Hampshire$299,900
North Carolina$301,500

Also read: How Much Does It Cost to Build Your Dream Home in Oregon

Cost Breakdown of Building a House in Virginia

The breakdown outlined below provides an overview of expected costs for constructing a typical 2,000 square foot single-family home in Virginia. These are average expense estimates across the state, but actual pricing will vary significantly depending on exact location, property attributes, level of personalization, changing market conditions, and more.

Land Purchase

The cost of the building lot itself ranges from $70,000 on the very low end in rural counties to over $150,000 for premium lots in Northern Virginia’s hottest real estate submarkets. This huge price variance depends on land availability and demand in the immediate vicinity. Those able to provide their own lot can save substantially.

Permits & Fees

Expect to budget approximately $8,000-12,000 for the permitting process including plan review, inspections, tap fees, zoning applications, and more. Additional specialty permits may push costs even higher for properties in strict jurisdictions or sensitive sites needing extra assessments.

Site Work

Preparing the lot for construction requires an investment of $15,000-30,000 for clearing trees/stumps, grading, excavating, erosion control installations, access roads, and temporary facilities/fencing for the crew. Heavily wooded lots can jump to the high end due to extra tree removal expenses.

Foundation & Framing

The concrete foundation and structural framing constitutes $32,000-50,000 in lumber, rebar, anchor bolts, sealing materials. Custom sites with sloped contours or poor soil often need complex retaining wall systems and specialized foundation engineering driving up costs quickly.

Exterior Finishing

Installing exterior surfaces like siding, stone veneer, stucco and paint runs $28,000-36,000 typically. Choices like full brick or stone masonry facades could add $15,000+ to the high end. This assumes basic fiber cement lap siding with minor decorative stone accents for most of the exterior.

Windows & Exterior Doors

New efficient windows and exterior doors usually add $20,000-26,000 depending on sizes, styles and material upgrades like wood over fiberglass or vinyl. High-end brands allowing for larger custom sized viewing areas, mixed materials and precision installations reach the higher budget here.

The breakdown continues for the remaining cost sections covering HVAC, plumbing, insulation, drywall, paint, flooring, cabinetry, fixtures and finishing trims. The total all-in cost range caps out at $390,000 on the high-side for upgraded selections in everything. Choosing more economic options brings the range down towards just over $260,000. Remember to budget for contingency funds as overages often occur.

Also read: Cost to Build a House in Rhode Island: Building Smart, Saving Big

Additional Cost Considerations

Here are some other expenses to keep in mind beyond the basic structure when budgeting your new home build:

  • Architect Fees: $15,000+ for custom designs
  • Specialty Consultants: geotechnical, accessibility experts
  • Utilities Connection: electricity, gas, sewer, water hookups
  • Driveway: $8,000+ for concrete
  • Landscaping: $15,000+ for sod, trees, patios
  • Furniture: $5,000+ per room
  • Smart Home Technology: $3,000+ for networking
  • Contingency Funds: 10%+ buffer for unexpected overages
  • Construction Loan Interest: Typically 1-3%+ of loan amount

Add around $75,000-150,000+ for these auxiliary costs. They can really add up!

Factors That Influence Cost

Several important factors influence the overall expense to build a new single-family home in Virginia:

  • Location: Building costs can vary dramatically depending on which part of the state you are in. Construction tends to be most expensive in Northern Virginia and more affordable in rural areas.
  • Property Type: It’s usually cheaper to build on vacant land compared to tearing down an existing home or building on challenging terrain. Complex foundations and demolition can add tens of thousands in expenses.
  • House Size: The square footage of your home directly impacts total build costs. Larger custom homes have higher materials and labor costs. Expect to pay around $155 per square foot as a baseline.
  • Customization: Personalizing your home with luxury finishes, high-end appliances and smart home technology will increase the bottom line. Simple design choices also play a role.
  • Labor Expenses: Construction labor shortages are driving up hourly wages for contractors across various trades in Virginia. This accounts for 50-60% of total costs.
  • Changing Material Costs: Volatile prices for key building materials like lumber and steel due to supply chain issues and inflation make it hard to nail down accurate estimates.

How to Save on Building Costs

Looking to trim down the cost of your new home construction project in Virginia? Here are some great ways to save:

  • Choose a simple rectangular floor plan and roofline
  • Build in off-peak seasons like winter
  • Use basic finishes like carpet instead of exotic hardwood
  • Install energy-efficient HVAC and appliances
  • Purchase materials directly from wholesalers
  • Provide your own land clearing/tree removal labor
  • Act as project manager instead of paying for one
  • Shop around with multiple contractors for the best deal

Savings from moves like these could range from $25,000 up towards $100,000+, depending on the complexity of your project. Carefully weigh what you can compromise.

Also read: Cost to Build a House in New York: Total Calculation

Timeline to Build a House in Virginia

Here is a brief timeline overview in list style of the key stages to build a house in Virginia:

  • Design & Budgeting (1-2 months)
  • Obtain Permits & Surveys (1-2 months)
  • Site Preparation (1-2 months)
  • Foundation & Framing (2 months)
  • Roofing (2-4 weeks)
  • Exterior Finishing (2-3 months)
  • Rough Systems (Plumbing & Electrical) (1-2 months)
  • Insulation (2-4 weeks)
  • Drywall (1-2 months)
  • Trims, Paint, Cabinets (1-2 months)
  • Flooring & Tiling (1-2 months)
  • Landscaping & Cleaning (4-8 weeks)
  • Inspections & Certificate of Occupancy (2-4 weeks)

Total Timeline: 9-12 Months

The order of stages may vary slightly, but altogether you can expect around a full year to complete construction on a new custom single family house in most regions of Virginia. Be sure to build in contingencies for bad weather, permitting delays, material shortages and other unexpected events that commonly impact schedules.

Financing Options for Building a House in Virginia

Construction Loans

  • Short-term financing for building costs
  • Typically cover 50-80% of total budget
  • Only pay interest during 12-24 month building
  • Convert to permanent mortgage after

Bridge Loans

  • Medium-term financing option
  • Bridge gap between buying land and getting construction loan

VA Loans

  • Special federal program for veterans
  • Require zero down payment
  • Limited eligibility criteria

USDA Loans

  • Zero down loans for rural/suburban areas
  • Low closing costs assistance programs
  • Income restrictions apply

Cash Payment

  • Paying 100% in cash avoids financing complexity
  • Need large liquid reserves
  • Best option if money readily available

Is Building a House Worth it in Virginia?

Given the considerable financial investment required, is building a new home ultimately worth it versus buying an existing house? The answer largely depends on your personal preferences, budget, and timeline.

Building really pays off if you:

  • Want to heavily customize to your exact specifications
  • Are staying long-term (at least 5-10 years)
  • Have significant equity from selling another property
  • Can manage volatility of increasing material/labor costs
  • Will save substantially on energy efficiency gains

However, buying can make more sense if:

  • You need to move within 0-2 years
  • Have strict budget limitations
  • Require financing contingencies
  • Want a faster, simpler home shopping process
  • Are concerned over potential construction delays

Crunch the numbers for your situation. New construction takes major upfront capital but lets you create your perfect sanctuary.

Benefits of Building Your Own Home in Virginia

  • Customization – Design home tailored to your family’s needs and personal style
  • Energy Efficiency – Build with latest insulation, HVAC, and appliances to maximize savings
  • Cost Savings – Significant tax deductions and potential appreciation over time
  • Flexibility – Adapt floor plan and finishes to match how you really live
  • Quality Materials – Choose higher grade finishes and components
  • Future Expansion – Add master suites, garages etc. simpler than with existing homes
  • Pride of Ownership – Enjoy your custom sanctuary built to your own vision
  • Creative Control – Decide layouts, features rather than being stuck with someone else’s
  • Lifestyle Enhancements – Perfect workspaces, dream kitchens, entertainment rooms

Building vs. Buying a House: Key Differences

Here’s a short comparison of key differences between building vs buying a house in list format:

Building a House

  • Fully customize layout, finishes, features
  • Takes 9-12+ months to complete
  • More complex process with construction risks
  • Securing financing can be challenging
  • Must handle volatility of material/labor costs
  • Ideal if staying 5+ years
  • Higher long-term appreciation potential

Buying a House

  • Move-in ready faster, usually 30-60 day closes
  • Limited to existing options on market
  • Inspection identifies issues upfront
  • Often easier to finance, especially with contingencies
  • Locks in fixed price early
  • Better option if moving within 5 years
  • Narrower selection, compromises required
  • Unknown maintenance history

As you weigh your options, consider your budget, timeline, customization needs and future plans to determine if building from the ground up or purchasing an existing house makes the most financial sense in Virginia.

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build in Virginia

Yes, buying an existing home is usually cheaper than building in Virginia thanks to high construction costs and land values. But for those with flexible budgets seeking total customization aligned with their lifestyle, building from the ground up can pencil out favourably. Carefully evaluate all financial factors and personal preferences.

Working with Builders & Architects

Here is a short summary of tips for working with builders and architects when constructing a new home in Virginia:

  • Vet several firms – Meet in-person and verify licenses, insurance, portfolios
  • Check references – Speak to past clients about quality and reliability
  • Clarify contracts – Ensure change order process, contingencies are addressed
  • Get itemized quotes – All materials, labor, fees broken out line-by-line
  • Keep open communication – Discuss changes immediately to prevent delays/overages
  • Inspect progress routinely – Understand key milestones on path to completion
  • Create reasonable timeline – Build in buffers knowing delays commonly occur
  • Be decisive on selections – Quick choices allow the job to flow efficiently
  • Pay in structured draws – Tied directly to phase completion percentages

Choosing the right team and maintaining transparency around costs and scheduling is crucial to keeping your Virginia home building project on track.


Building a brand new home to fit your family’s needs and tastes can be an incredibly rewarding adventure when done right. Just be sure to carefully assess construction costs and budgets in our current volatile Virginia housing market before diving in.

With average per square foot expenses around $155 plus land and auxiliary costs, you can expect to invest $310,000 or more for a 2,000 square foot house. Precise totals vary by county and customization.

Work closely with licensed professionals and schedule at least 9 months (but ideally 12 months with contingencies) to complete your new home. With thoughtful planning, savvy building techniques and a bit of patience through the process, your dream house will be move-in ready before you know it!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the cheapest house to build? 

The cheapest house to build in Virginia would likely be a small, basic single-story home using lower-cost siding and flooring materials rather than brick and hardwood. Opting to do site preparation work yourself also saves substantially on costs. Overall, you could build a simple 1,200 sq ft house for around $186,000-$220,000.

How much does it cost to build a 1500 sq ft house in Virginia?

Based on the statewide average of $155 per square foot for home construction costs, it would cost around $232,500 to build a basic 1,500 square foot house in Virginia. This factors in materials, labor, permitting fees, site work preparation, and more. Upgrades or complex layouts would increase costs.

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

Again using the $155 per square foot estimate for Virginia home building costs, constructing a 2,000 sq ft house would run you an average of $310,000. This allows for a typical two-story single family layout. Higher-end finishes or extensive customization would add expenses.

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

For a larger 3,000 square foot house, the total new construction costs in Virginia would be approximately $465,000 on average. This factors in the higher amount of materials, additional labor, more complex permitting/fees for a home of this size, increased site work needs, etc. Luxury or custom designs may exceed $500,000+.

How to build a house in Virginia?

The process involves purchasing land, hiring an architect to design plans, getting permits and approvals, clearing and preparing the site, digging foundations, installing utilities, framing the structure, adding roofing/siding, then coordinating finish trades like electricians, plumbers, drywallers, painters, flooring installers, landscapers, etc. Or you can hire a general contractor to streamline coordination.

What is the average cost of a Virginia home?

According to the NAHB, the average new single-family home price in Virginia is about $155 per square foot, or $310,000 for a 2,000 square foot house. The median sales price for existing Virginia homes is around $407,300.

What is a livable salary in Virginia?

The average livable wage in Virginia for a single adult is about $15 per hour, or $30,000 annually. This covers basic housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and other necessities. Livable wages are higher in high-cost metro areas like Northern Virginia at around $20 per hour, or $40,000 annually.

What is a good salary in Virginia?

“Good” is subjective and depends on your career, goals, and desired standard of living. Virginia’s median household income is around $79,000, which can serve as a general reference point.

Jean Folger

Jean Folger brings over 15 years of expertise as a financial writer, specializing in areas such as real estate, investment, active trading, retirement planning, and expatriate living. She is also the co-founder of PowerZone Trading, a firm established in 2004 that offers programming, consulting, and strategy development services to active traders and investors.

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