If you want to build a house in Connecticut, be prepared to spend a little more than you would in most other states. Connecticut is the eleventh most expensive state in which to build a home, with an average cost of $219,599. One reason the step-by-step process to build a house in Connecticut is higher than in other states is that labor costs are the ninth highest in the country at an estimated $21.47 an hour.
If you want to build a house in Connecticut, you may pay even more depending on the location. Communities within commuting distance of New York City have higher housing costs, and you’ll pay more to build a house in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, and Hartford, the four largest cities.
While location is a huge driver of the cost to build a house in Connecticut, the amount you’ll pay also varies according to how much land you buy, the size of the home, and the materials you choose.
Custom vs. Production Homes
One important aspect of building a new home in Connecticut is the style you choose. The two main categories are custom homes and production homes. A custom one refers to a home built on an individual lot and designed just for you. A production home is one of several designed and built by a builder in a planned community or a cluster of homes.
The choice you make for your home in Connecticut – production or custom – will have a big impact on your budget, financing options, and timeline. Generally, a custom home will cost more and take longer to build. Your experience depends on the land you find, whether it is prepared with infrastructure for a home, and how long the permitting process could take. In Connecticut permits cost an average of $2,500. Typically, you’ll need to hire an architect or a design-build firm and finance the land and construction costs.
When you build a production home in Connecticut, the purchase price usually includes the land, permits, architectural design, materials, and labor. You may pay extra for a special lot or for some optional features, both of which are usually bundled into your mortgage. In this article, we’re focused on building a production home in Connecticut.
Step-by-Step Process to Build a House in Connecticut
It takes an average of seven months to build a production home in Connecticut, but there are numerous factors that impact how long it takes, including how much your builder has done in advance such as preparing the land and requesting initial building permits.
The following steps outline the process to build a home in Connecticut.
Budgeting for Your New Home
Your first step to building your new home in Connecticut is to develop a financial plan. Before you start to shop for a community or a builder, you need to determine your comfort level with your monthly housing payment. This will include principal and interest on your loan, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and, in most cases, homeowner’s association dues. When you narrow your search, you can ask about those fees and what they include. You should also evaluate your cash on hand for a deposit, a down payment, closing costs, and moving. If you have a house to sell, you may want to talk to a real estate agent about what you can expect to receive in proceeds from the sale.
Your next step is to consult a lender for a mortgage preapproval. The lender will check your credit and should fully document your income and assets to establish your borrowing limit. This preapproval helps you establish your price range and gives you time to correct any errors on your credit report or improve your credit score with advice from the lender. You can always choose a different lender when you decide on a builder because the preapproval doesn’t commit you to that initial lender.
The price per square foot to build a house in Connecticut ranges from $125 to $270 on average, but luxury homes can cost as much as $700 or more per square foot. The average cost to build a 2,500-square-foot house in Connecticut ranges from $312,500 to $675,000. Luxury homes sell for more than $1 million in most parts of the state.
A variety of factors impact the price to build a home in Connecticut, including the location, land, size, style, and materials. Materials typically consume about 50 percent of the total cost to build a home in Connecticut. Labor in Connecticut is 30 to 40 percent of the overall cost.
When you choose a production builder for your home in Connecticut, it can reduce some of the cost of materials because your builder can make bulk purchases for a community. You can sometimes save money with careful choices for optional features, too.
Lumber prices vary widely and can range from $25,000 to $65,000 for a home in Connecticut. Asphalt roofs are among the most common types and can cost $5,000 to $11,000, depending on the size of the home and the style.
Depending on your builder, you may have some choices to make for interior features when you build a house in Connecticut. Your builder may offer packages of interior finishes, individual choices, or a higher level of personalization, all of which will impact your final price.
Homeowner’s insurance in Connecticut costs an average of $1,961 per year, which is 15 percent lower than the national average of $2,305.
However, property taxes in Connecticut are the third highest in the country, at an effective rate of 2.14 percent compared to a national average of 1.07 percent. The average property tax bill in Connecticut ranges from $3,671 to $7,393.
Choose Your Builder and Community
Most people prefer to start their search for a builder and a community in Connecticut online. You can set your search parameters by location, home style, and price range, then visit the websites of the communities that look interesting. Since many planned communities have several builders, you may want to look at the websites for each builder to narrow your choice.
After you look at photos, renderings, floor plans, and virtual tours, you will want to visit model homes and communities in person. During those visits, you can consult the onsite sales professionals and ask residents about their homes and the community. You can also check out builder reviews at TrustBuilder®.
Line Up Your financing
Once you decide which builder you want to build your house in Connecticut, you will be expected to sign a contract, make a deposit, and finalize your mortgage. Many builders have a list of preferred lenders, and some have an in-house lending arm for their business. If so, the builder may want you to apply for a loan with one of their lenders so they can feel confident that you will be able to pay for the home when it’s complete. When you work with a preferred lender, you’re likely to have a smoother experience because of the relationship between the builder and lender. Some builders offer an incentive such as paying closing costs or providing a free option if you work with their preferred lender and title company. You can also compare the loan offer with another lender to be sure you are getting the best rate and fees.
There’s also location-based down payment and closing cost assistance in Connecticut that you can use to offset the overall expenses. Be sure to do your research when deciding what mortgage path is best for you.
Choose Your Lot and Floor Plan
Two extremely important decisions – your lot and your floor plan – will be made early in the process of building a home in Connecticut. The onsite sales professional can help you choose the best floor plan and lot to fit your needs and budget. In some cases, you’ll pay extra for a specific lot.
Not every floor plan can be built on every lot, so you may need to compromise a little. Sometimes, the builder determines which models can be built in different locations for a more attractive streetscape. In other cases, a lot’s shape or size may not be able to accommodate the model you want.
At this step of building a home in Connecticut, you should ask lots of questions about plans for the community, such as more development and construction. In addition, you need to be sure you know exactly what features are included in your purchase and which ones are optional.
Permitting and Inspections
Your builder will take care of all the permits and inspections when you build a production home in Connecticut. There are statewide building codes that every builder must meet, and some local jurisdictions have additional building code requirements. Some builders choose to exceed the code, particularly for energy efficiency.
You can hire a third-party inspector to check on your home at certain phases of construction and when it is complete. You should consult your builder about the best time to schedule an inspection.
Depending on your location in Connecticut, your area may be prone to hurricanes and coastal flooding. The state can get significant snowstorms, too. You and your builder can discuss any special style changes or materials that can make your home more resistant to the impact of floods and storms. The Buyers Guide to Resilient Homes includes state-specific information that can be helpful as you build your home in Connecticut.
It takes an average of seven months to build a home in Connecticut. Your builder is the best resource to understand the progress and timeline for your individual home, which can be impacted by the weather, material shortages, the availability of contractors, and inspectors. Staying in touch with your lender is also important to make sure you are on track to move when you reach the final step of building your home in Connecticut.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.