How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in Chicago?


    Average cost to build a house in Chicago area is $258 per square foot plus local taxes. This includes soft costs and construction phases. Builder charges 5%-15% on top of all expenses for house construction. Complex modern home projects are more expensive to build in Chicago and can go as high as $350 per square foot.

    Why buy a house on the market when you can build one? The question is always about time and money. Of course construction will take up to a year for new custom home. However economically it makes more sense to build a house you desire, although upfront costs are higher than purchasing with mortgage.

    Custom HomeSpec HomeModular Home
    Soft Costs$30/sq ft$15/sq ft$20/sq ft
    Extra City Fees$25 000$10 000$20 000
    Hard Construction$202/sq ft$150/sq ft$176/sq ft
    Landscape$20 000$12 000$17 000
    Appliances$21 000$15 000$18 000
    Total Cost /Sq Ft$258 per sq ft$180 per sq ft$218 per sq ft

    Chicago area is extremely large and developing with high speed. Even within such area the costs will vary. Our idea is to show approximate costs and educate home owners on where does the money go. With all steps and expenses listed in our table each one of you can understand the how much does it cost to build a house in Chicago area.

    This table explains details on hard construction costs for building in Chicago Illinois:
    Excavation/Demolition$7 per sq/ft$11 per sq/ft$16 per sq/ft
    Foundation & Framing$29 per sq/ft$38 per sq/ft$45 per sq/ft
    Roofing$4 per sq/ft$6 per sq/ft$9 per sq/ft
    Exterior Façade $14 per sq/ft$22 per sq/ft$26 per sq/ft
    Windows & Doors$8 per sq/ft$14 per sq/ft$18 per sq/ft
    Garage & Driveway$9 per sq/ft$12 per sq/ft$14 per sq/ft
    Deck/Balcony/Porch$12 per sq/ft$15 per sq/ft$19 per sq/ft
    Rough Ins$11 per sq/ft$17 per sq/ft$22 per sq/ft
    Insulation & Drywall$12 per sq/ft$16 per sq/ft$20 per sq/ft
    Interior Finishes$39 per sq/ft$48 per sq/ft$57 per sq/ft
    Last Touch ups$1 per sq/ft$3 per sq/ft$5 per sq/ft
    Total$146 per sq/ft$202 per sq/ft$251 per sq/ft
    Prices for Custom Home – 2,500 square feet.

    Our team produces information to teach home owners on stages and approximate costs for house. Please do not take these numbers as baseline and demand home builders to go by budgets we mentioned. Every construction project is different even in close proximity. To provide exact quotes you can reach our team.

    Soft Costs For Home Construction in Chicago

    Don’t forget that tenth of thousands of dollars fly out of your pocket even before construction starts. All the work that excludes jobsite construction is called soft, therefore expenses involved are soft costs.

    To be more specific in Chicago house construction these expenses cover architectural documents with all permits, loans, city fees, project management and sometimes the profit for the builder.

    Here is a table of how much does it cost to build a house in Chicago with only soft construction costs:
    Drawings & Documents$4.5 per sq/ft$6 per sq/ft$8 per sq/ft
    Project Management$5 per sq/ft$10 per sq/ft$15 per sq/ft
    Design$2 per sq/ft$4 per sq/ft$8 per sq/ft
    Overheads$3 per sq/ft$5 per sq/ft$9 per sq/ft
    Miscellaneous $2 per sq/ft$5 per sq/ft$8 per sq/ft
    Total$16.5 per sq/ft$30 per sq/ft$48 per sq/ft
    Prices for Custom Home – 2,500 square feet.

    Soft costs to build a house in Chicago may differ by a lot. Building on your own as a contractor or supervisor requires budget for documents and few ongoing processes.

    Hiring home construction company however makes soft costs go through the roof. Expect to cover construction supervisor, company overheads and profit for builder. The good thing is your house has higher chances of being completed within timeline and warranty is given to home owner.

    Other Ongoing Expenses to Cover

    Many companies and estimators break down costs of construction, but many things are left under the table for home owner to worry about. Remodel On Point wanted to explain all other expenses that you can face while waiting for home to be completed.

    While work is in progress the costs are going to be adding up for electrical or gas bills, property taxes, home insurance, loan interest, mortgage and even city garbage collection fees.

    Based on average home construction time of one year we calculated that these expenses can add up to $30 000 or even more and on average 3% on top of home building expenses. Do not forget to calculate them in your budget or can potentially run out of money before house construction in Chicago is completed.

    How Much It Costs to Build in Different Chicago Areas

    We always talk how different cities and states have cost variations. To answer how much does it cost to build a house in Chicago general contractor needs to know which area you are talking about. As it appears, building closer to downtown is more complicated and can cost up to 20% more for exactly the same house than in Chicago suburbs.

    Additional costs appear mostly during demolition and construction of exterior box for the house. As you can imagine the space to work with is very tight and extra safety measure may be required. Good example of that would be shoring system and protection from damage. Imagine spending extra $50 000 – $100 000 just for making sure that nearby homes do not pivot due to deep excavation next their buildings.

    Unlike in suburbs of Chicago, downtown core is hard to maneuver heavy machinery. Same size house can take up twice as long for the excavation crew to dig out. There is no space to place extra soil. Every move has to be planned precise. Framing and façade is more expensive as well. Contractors need boomlifts, scaffold system and access points. All of these slow down the work therefore client will pay more money.

    All the work inside the house will pretty much cost the same. The only differences we can point out are parking and delivering materials. Overall interior finishes and cost to build house in Chicago is 5% higher for central area of the city.

    Building a House without a General Contractor

    Typically people think they can save money by taking on the project without builder involved. How hard can it be to hire different trades and make sure they complete the job? In reality it is way harder than everyone thinks and in fact you may spend way more money without assistance of experienced home builder in Chicago.

    Not knowing how much does it cost to build a house in Chicago in exact details can play a big role. The biggest benefit of general contractor is they have connections within trades and suppliers that provide discounts. Also they make fewer mistakes in ordering materials.

    For example installation of flooring for new modern home can cost $3 per square foot. Years of relationship with flooring trades can get builder discount down to $2.5 per square foot.

    They are not worrying about payment and can be flexible. Flooring supplier can also provide 10%-15% discount to custom home builder in Chicago because he buys through them all the time.

    They know how to calculate materials perfectly and can order with minimum waste. This is an example of one step that changes the cost per square foot to build a house in Chicago and there are many more trades to go through.

    We understand that cost to build a house in Chicago with home builder includes company fees and profit, but do you save much? The job may take a year to complete and you can be better off doing day to day job leaving home construction to professionals.

    Other Factors that Affect Cost to Build a House in Chicago

    Season – Ideal home construction starts in spring and ends in fall. At least the interior finishes can be carried over. When contractors do it the other way around it costs a lot more. A good example of that would be adding chemicals to concrete for it to set and not crack during cold temperatures

    Foundation Type – All around Chicago we see new homes with basements. Of course you get extra space inside the basement, but expenses are going to be higher. Slab on grade or crawl space is cheaper to construct per square foot of house.

    Materials and Finishes – Of course there are more luxurious and high end materials that can be used in home construction. There is literally no limit to what you can spend on some items. Have you seen a toilet curved out single piece of stone with price tag of $30 000. Yes it can get super expensive if you wanted to. Our tables with budgets on how much does it cost to build a house in Chicago are based on average costs we see implemented in construction.

    Are Chicago costs Different from Rest of the Country?

    Greater Chicago Area is home to almost 10 million people and it is constantly growing. Immigrants from all over the world want to live in this beautiful city. Thousands of people across America want to move to Chicago and seek better opportunities in career and overall lifestyle.

    With population and demand for housing increasing, the cost to build a house in Chicago becomes more expensive every year. Luxury becomes new standard for houses in popular areas.

    We estimate that prices for new home construction in Chicago are within 90 percentile of national statistics.

    Steven H.
    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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