How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In Austin?

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

Austin, Texas, has become a new mecca for technology companies. This area is the fastest-growing metropolitan region in Texas. A population and economic boom have affected almost everything, including home sales and construction. Most real estate agents recommend that anyone wanting to build a custom home find an established developer or builder for their project.

There are two types of builders in Austin that dominate the market. Production builders develop large tracts of land into sub-divisions and offer pre-packaged deals on the entire new home. Custom builders work on individual projects. These custom builders offer a more personalized approach to your home plans. In general, both types of builders will offer homes in the range of $300,000 to $500,000.

Both types of builders have almost identical cost structures. Production builders tend to offer basic homes with builder-quality appliances and fixtures. Custom builders have the same input costs but concentrate on designing and finishing your custom home based on your specific wants and needs.

Do You Need to Hire an Architect or a Builder?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Location and Land Costs

As with any booming geographic area, land costs in and around the Austin, TX, area are exploding. As the growth escalates, speculators have moved into the area and are buying land in huge swathes for future residential developments. Finding individual-sized plots of undeveloped rural land is becoming more difficult each day.

Distance becomes a factor as this land speculation continues. Many individuals wanting to purchase land for a rural single-family residence must travel further and further away from the metropolitan heart of the Austin area.

Upper Range of Land CostLower Range of Land Cost
Raw Land$750,000 per acre$200,000 per acre
Suburban Development$1,000,000 per lot$69,500 per lot

Austin offers the possibilities of rural ranch-like living or urban lakeside lifestyles with waterfront access. There is something for every family in the Austin metro area.

Buying Raw Land

There are still opportunities to purchase that mini-ranch in Texas. You can still find plots of land around Austin in the five to twenty-acre range on which to build your Texas ranch lifestyle. The downside is that these opportunities are getting more expensive and further away from Austin proper.

Any time you consider going rural on undeveloped land, there are certain costs that you must consider in your budget.

  • Access and Site Preparation –The Texas hill country surrounding Austin presents some unique challenges for site access and preparation. The shallow depth of the limestone bedrock is one example. Site preparation for a residential-sized building pad usually averages between $1,120.00 – $2,286.67 per acre.
  • Electricity – The dominant factor in getting electricity to your site is distance. In general, the electric company will charge by the foot to install poles and lines to get electricity to your worksite. This charge can average between $25 and $50 per foot from the nearest electrical service line.
  • Water and Sewer –You can expect to pay a septic system company between $1,208.00 and $8,502.00 to install a residential septic system suitable for a three-bedroom home. Drilling and installing residential, domestic water well can cost between $1,500 and $12,000.

Suburban Developments – The Typical Residential Building Location

The unbelievable growth in and around Austin has created a land and home speculation boom. Developers routinely gobble up huge swathes of land and turned into residential suburban neighborhoods.

The land and building speculators recognize that not everyone coming to the Austin area has the financial capabilities to purchase or build on the upper ranges. The range of home prices in these rapidly expanding suburban developments run from $300,00 to $500,000.

Coming Up Out of the Ground – Task Costs on a Residential Build

Many home builders and developers in Austin will offer you a package price for constructing your home in their neighborhood projects. These are usually inclusive bids, provided you stick with the builder’s standard range of appliances, fixtures, finishes, and materials. Some people wonder how the component costs of building a home in Austin break down.

Job or TaskPercentage of Overall Project CostAustin Average Low CostsAustin Average High Costs
Dirt Work and Site Work Preparation3 to 8 percent $9,053.31 $37,333.28
Foundation and Concrete10 to 15 percent $30,177.70 $69,999.90
Framing10 to 20 percent $30,177.70 $93,333.20
Dry in (Exterior, windows, doors, and Roof)15 to 20 percent $45,266.55 $93,333.20
Mechanical Systems (plumbing, sewer, HVAC, Electrical)10 to 15 percent $30,177.70 $69,999.90
Interior Finish (drywall, paint, flooring, trim)25 to 35 percent $75,444.25 $163,333.10

One of the great advantages of contracting with a builder or developer is avoiding some of these costs. Part of preparing a suburban neighborhood development covers much of these services such as dirt work, utility installation and connections to domestic water systems and community waste service.

How Big and How Much

Suppose you are building into an established suburban neighborhood. In that case, the deed restriction imposed by the HOA may dictate how much square footage you are required to build as well as many restrictions on finishes and exterior designs.

In Austin, you can find homes with these square footages within the costs shown in this chart.

Total Square Footage of HomeLower Range of CostUpper Range of Cost
800 $232,000.00 $624,000.00
900 $261,000.00 $702,000.00
1,000 $290,000.00 $780,000.00
1,200 $348,000.00 $936,000.00
1,500 $435,000.00 $1,170,000.00
1,600 $464,000.00 $1,248,000.00
1,800 $522,000.00 $1,404,000.00
2,000 $580,000.00 $1,560,000.00
2,500 $725,000.00 $1,950,000.00
2,700 $783,000.00 $2,106,000.00
3,000 $870,000.00 $2,340,000.00
4,000 $1,160,000.00 $3,120,000.00
5,000 $1,450,000.00 $3,900,000.00

It may be difficult to find builders who are currently erecting homes in the smaller square footage ranges. Typically, the average home built in the Austin area is 1,800 to 2,500 square feet.

Adding Bedrooms – What Does it Cost to Add Sleeping Space?

Building core areas in a new home, such as a kitchen, family room, bathrooms, and functional areas such as laundry rooms, are single costs. In Austin, the standard configuration for a home is three bedrooms and two baths. Adding additional bedrooms is sometimes a cost consideration for families expecting future growth.

Number of BedroomsLower Range of CostsUpper Range of Costs
One $376,089.40 $1,011,550.80
Two $474,735.80 $1,276,875.60
Three $573,382.20 $1,542,200.40
Four $672,028.60 $1,807,525.20
Five $770,675.00 $2,072,850.00

Past the basic costs of adding bedroom square footage to a new home plan is the cost of the finishes and fittings that go into that room. The upgrades can, at times, exceed the cost of the actual construction.

Personnel Costs of Building a Home in Austin

The building boom in Austin has put pressure on the building trades. Skilled workers are in short supply and can command premium wages. This wage pressure puts additional cost pressure on builders and drives up the overall cost of all the building trades.

Architect or Engineer

Building in the Austin area will involve dealing with several different permitting agencies, depending on your location. Many of these agencies use the same or very similar building code requirements, but almost all of them will require plans prepared by a licensed architect or engineer before permits are issued. Typically, architects in the Austin area charge a ten percent fee based on the estimated construction costs of the project. This percentage usually runs between $30,177.70 and $46,666.60

Builder or Construction Manager

Suppose you contract with the developer or builder to erect your new home in their development or sub-division. In that case, you probably won’t see a specific cost in the contract for a builder or construction manager. The builder or developer usually sees their profits as part of the overall project net. Overall, developers and builders in Austin will see a net profit on a custom-built home in the range of $18,106.62 to $27,999.96.

Cost Estimate for Professional Tasks

Each trade or craft that works on your home building project will bill you or your builder separately. These costs may be on a bid basis or an hourly basis, depending on the way your contractor and sub-contractors work. We found that these hourly and bid rates apply to Austin.

  • Electrician rates – Union electricians in the Austin area typically charge between $20 and $35 per hour in Austin.
  • Roofing contractor – Several factors determine the hourly rate roofers charge. Different roofing materials and the style of your roof contribute to these charges. The predominant roof installed in Austin is a composite shingle and usually runs between $5,942 to $7,535.
  • Framers – Framers typically charge by the square foot. However, this can differ based on the complexity of the framing and the number of stories in the plan. You can expect basic framing costs for a single-story residential structure to run between $3.00 and $5,00 per square foot. This cost does not include the cost of the materials.
  • Drywall, Trim, and Finish – Finishing the interior of your home is a big job and requires several different skills. Lumping finish costs together shows a net cost between $9 and $11 per square foot. This range is for labor only and doesn’t include materials.
  • Plumbers and HVAC – Part of finishing your home’s interior is installing plumbing fixtures, kitchen fixtures, and the HVAC system. Overall, you can expect to pay $65 – $75 per hour.
  • Administrative and permits – Your local government will expect their fees as well. These local fees and permit costs can add between $424 – $2,291 to your project in Austin, TX.

Upgrade Costs – Adding Amenities to Your New Home

A new home is a blank canvass on which each family puts its unique stamp. Your families, interests, activities, and lifestyle contribute to what amenities you want to add to your home beyond the basics. Some of the more common additions that families make to the basic home plan include the following.


Wood framing is still the preferred method of constructing single-family homes in Austin. Some builders use framing crews who only work with wood. Upgrading your framing requirements to metal can incur additional costs for special framing crews with the tools and expertise to work with metal.

In general, if you specify metal framing rather than wood in the Austin area, you can expect to pay an additional $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot in framing costs.


Most builders and developers in the Austin area build residential structures on slab foundations. In general, these are four-inch thick slabs with steel reinforcement for strength and rigidity. The typical cost of a concrete slab foundation in the Austin area runs between $5.50 and $6.50 per square foot.

Drywall and Trim Work

It is almost a given that when you are planning your new home with your builder or developer, you will opt for at least a few upgrades from the standard offerings for trim and finish.

Adding appeal and livability to your home is often a function of your decisions about the finishes. In general, you may see additional costs from $12 to $75 per square foot for some of these services and products.

Upgraded Kitchens and Appliances

The most common upgrades to the standard offerings from Austin builders and developers are kitchen enhancements. These often include:

  • Upgraded appliances
  • Granite or stone countertops
  • Custom-built cabinetry
  • Premium flooring

If you specify your appliance and finishes, such as countertops, cabinets, and flooring for your kitchen, you can expect additional costs. Nationally, these types of additions can cost between $22 and $115 per square foot.

Adding Appeal – Lifestyle Upgrades

Some of the most popular upgrades to new homes constructed in the Austin area are more for lifestyle and likeability functions. Some of these upgrades include:

  • Swimming pools and spas – The climate in Austin is one of the best in the country and lends itself to outside entertaining and lifestyles. Many new home builders opt to include a swimming pool in their initial building plans. Expect to pay between $14,000 and $39,000 to get into the swim of things.
  • Patios and outdoor kitchens – Austin is an outdoor culture. Many families are focused on outside activities year-round, and the climate in Austin often accommodates. The addition of a patio and outdoor kitchen can extend your living space and provide new dimensions for entertaining. Adding a patio and outdoor kitchen usually costs between $6,000 and $15,000.
  • Landscapes – Most developers and builders only provide a minimum of landscaping with your contract. Standard landscaping usually includes a few trees, bushes, and turf. Most new homeowners want to step up the exterior appeal of their homes with more extensive landscaping. In general, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $18,000 to enhance your landscape.

The downside to these types of exterior upgrades is the additional costs involved. The benefits come in the form of family enjoyment, livability, and curb appeal that can add to the value of your home in the future.

Do You Need to Hire an Architect or a Builder?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Building Your New Home in Austin

A booming economy, enticing climate, and a world-class metropolitan atmosphere make Austin a premium destination for families. Unfortunately, as the city continues to boom, prices for new homes also continue to rise.

Finding a builder or developer to help you with your new home construction is highly recommended. Creating trust and understanding will make the building process much less stressful. In the end, you and your family will enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Related Guides

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

More by Dennis Howard