Chula Vista is the second-largest city in the San Diego metro area and the 15th largest in California. Its name translates to “beautiful view” in Spanish, with historians attributing it to the scenic landscape between the San Diego bay and the coastal foothills. The city was part of the First Mexican Republic and became part of the U.S. after the Mexican-American war. Currently, it is home to a diverse community where 58.9% of its residents are of Hispanic heritage. Tourism is one of the major industries in the city, offering dining, entertainment, and attractions. Some of the notable features of Chula Vista include the Aquatica San Diego, the Chula Vista Marina, the Chula Vista Nature Center, Otay Valley Regional Park, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The Olympic Center caters to athletes in various sports like rowing, archery, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and cycling.
Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), which is one of the largest companies based in Chula Vista, announced back in 2001 that the presence of diverse ethnic groups is why they chose to settle there. In fact, the city ranks 12th for the most diverse suburbs in the San Diego area according to Niche. The site also lists Chula Vista as the 12th best suburb in the San Diego area for young professionals and ranks it as the 16th best suburb to raise a family in the San Diego area. The great weather makes it a great place for outdoor activities, which families may enjoy. However, since the city is located in California, the cost of living is higher than the national average by around 47.1% according to Best Places.
With this growth, prospective homeowners and developers may ask: how much does it cost to build a home in Chula Vista?
The Cost of Building a Home in Chula Vista
Nationally, building a 2,000-square-foot home costs an average of around $300,000 according to Forbes, which in California would cost $405,440 to construct. According to a Ramona-based contractor, A custom home in the San Diego area may cost around $185 to $300 per square foot. San Diego County saw its largest price increase for homes in the past eight years. The 23% increase in median home prices is representative of what is happening all over the country as people are buying more and more homes due to the temporary low mortgage. Cities are seeing rapid price increases and bidding wars, which is also paving the way for even more unaffordable housing issues. Realtor reports that for March 2022, the average home price in Chula Vista is $732,500, or $442 per square foot. The properties sell for about 3.91% higher than the original listing price and spend around 36 days on the market before it gets sold. Compared to the previous year, the area saw a 12.7% increase in the median home price.
The cost of building a custom single family home in Chula Vista generally depends on the materials, labor, and professional services it may require since every project is unique. Some of the components may fluctuate independently from each other, like foundation, framing, exterior, and interior finishing. Project owners may also come across various fees prior to the construction. This includes, but is not limited to, architecture and design, building permits, and other permits such as land and zoning, plumbing, electrical, and home additions.
The hard costs help construct the physical structure of the home, like the materials, labor, and even the total project cost. The prices may vary with the quality or brand and the waiting time. In Chula Vista, it will depend on the types of materials used and the complexity of the project. Basic or standard-grade construction starts at $245 per square foot, while a middle-range custom home starts at $320 per square foot. Lastly, luxury or high-end homes can cost around $405 to $467 per square foot or higher.
In the San Diego area, there are various processes and services involved in preparing the project site. For example, grading may cost anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000, while it may cost $2,000 to $6,000 for soil testing depending on the condition of the land. For the waste and sewage system, a standard septic system starts at $10,000, and water wells, storage tanks, and pumps can cost around $25,000 to $55,000.
In Chula Vista, starting with the exteriors, asphalt roofing ranges from $4.40 to $7.50 per square foot according to HomeBlue. Other home necessities like electrical wiring and plumbing cost at least $120 each. Electric wirings can cost as high as $966, with electrician services ranging between $892 and $1,277, while plumbing can go up to $873 according to Manta. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC systems are a must in every household, especially in areas with warmer temperatures. The cost and maintenance of an HVAC system depend on the size of the house and the unit model. As per Blue National HVAC, duct cleaning and preventative maintenance in Chula Vista may cost around $490, while extensive repairs such as furnace replacement can cost a homeowner $6,060.
Soft costs are expenses that go beyond the physical construction of the home, like the architecture and design, land development, and permit fees such as building, new construction, plumbing, water, HVAC, and others.
Cost of the Land
Finding the perfect property is one of the first steps in constructing a custom home since there may be special considerations for the architectural design. Prices vary due to several factors and these may include the land topography, amenities, and distance from metropolitan or commercial areas. The average cost of land in Chula Vista is around $1,811,905, or $25.23 per square foot with the median land size of 114,845 square feet. In general, land values may still increase depending on its development status, or if it is fit for residential construction since some properties listed on websites may be undeveloped or for commercial development. As of April 2022, the cheapest land available in the city is a 2.45-acre land priced at $200,000. The property is undeveloped and is located north of Telegraph Canyon Road, around 600 feet east of Paseo Ranchero.
Permits and Other Fees
Permit fees vary with several factors depending on the city or state the project will be done in. These usually include the size and complexity of the project, the overall project cost, the additional permits required for systems such as HVAC, plumbing, etc., and the inspection fees. Project owners can schedule the inspection either online using the Citizen Access page or via telephone. The plan check and inspection fees in Chula Vista are computed with respect to the construction type. The Samuels Group Inc. shares the differences between the different construction types:
The following tables show the project size threshold in Chula Vista per construction type, the base cost of each size, and the cost for every 100 square feet in excess:
Construction Types IIA, IIB, IIIA, IIIB, and IV:
Construction Types IA and IB:
Construction Types VA and VB:
Architecture and Design Fees
The architecture and design fees before and during construction depend on the size, scope, and complexity of the project. The final design will also vary with the client’s needs and preferences. While some projects may be simple and straightforward, some may require extensive research, attention to detail, and even consultation with other industry professionals. In the U.S., architecture and design fees range from 5 to 20% of the total construction cost. Architects in the San Diego area may charge a base cost of about 4 to 6% of the overall project cost for the home design and drawn plans.
How do the custom home building costs in Chula Vista compare to other nearby cities?
Bonita, which translates to “Beautiful” in Spanish, is a Census-Designated Place (CDP) in San Diego County. It is located four miles from Chula Vista. Permits pulled from BuildZoom (BZ) show that new single family homes in the area typically have one to two floors, complete with a garage and a patio. On average, projects cost a total of $673,423, or around $144 per square foot. On Realtor, homes listed have a median listing price of $1,200,000, or $468 per square foot for March 2022. These properties spend an average of 33 days on the market before it gets sold, and with a sales-to-list ratio of 100.91%, Bonita is a seller’s market. This means that there are more people looking for homes than the current housing inventory can accommodate.
La Mesa is a city in San Diego County, 14 miles away from Chula Vista. Permits gathered from BZ report that the area has a median project cost of $526,318 or $167 per square foot. Custom home designs included either single or two-story homes with a patio and garage. Realtor data reports that, as of March 2022, the median home listing is $800,000, with a square foot price of $542. Homes spend an average of 35 days before it gets sold, and currently, La Mesa is a seller’s market given the 105.88% sales-to-list ratio. This means that with more people looking for homes than there are available, a property can sell for 5.88% higher than the original listing.
Lastly, for El Cajon, the average job value is $380,970 as per BZ, or around $151 per square foot. Similar to both Bonita and La Mesa, the typical home designs in the area are either single or two-story homes with an attached garage and a patio. With over 300 properties on Realtor, the median home listing price on the website as of March 2022 is $725,000, or $466 per square foot. The average selling price for the same month is $735,000, a 2.18% increase from the original listing price, which makes El Cajon a seller’s market. Properties have a median of 37 days on the market before it gets sold.
What Leading Custom Home Builders and Architects that Serve the Chula Vista Area Say
Ten Seventy Architecture shares that the construction industry is seeing higher materials costs due to the current gas pricing issue and a carryover of the supply chain issues from the pandemic. With the labor shortage still prominent in the industry, getting the perfect contractor proves to be a difficult task, especially on smaller projects.
According to Buildable, a San Diego-based firm, lumber prices this June is expected to reach half of their peak back in January this year. While material costs are unstable and ‘quality’ construction labor is hard to come by, builders and project owners are looking at more liberated scheduling in 2023 as supply chain backlogs are finally easing. While this may seem like a good indicator to start working on a project, costs might be more expensive by the time construction starts.
The Future of Chula Vista’s Residential Construction Industry
San Diego homebuilders saw their most productive quarter last year when they completed close to 3,000 new homes; however, it still was not enough for the demand for new homes in the area. The new developments in the county were comprised of multifamily construction such as apartments and townhouses, generating a 76% increase from 2020 while single family construction was down by 32%. This year, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates in an attempt to fix the high inflation rate in the country. It is said that this action will increase prices and slow down the current housing market.
With the home inventory in San Diego County reaching the lowest number in decades last year, Chula Vista is looking at Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and granny flats to meet the California-mandated housing requirement and accommodate the rising population. The city plans on using areas with prospected growth, and even gave new standards such as permitting the use of residential and mixed-use zones for the construction of ADUs. One of the driving forces of this initiative is the need for affordable housing, which is essential for a city where 12 % of its current population is in the low-income category.
Various factors come into play when discussing housing affordability since pandemic restrictions are easing all over the country. One of these is the second San Diego Bay opening, which is expected to require thousands of workers for the construction. This project, which was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is also expected to help Chula Vista jumpstart its University and Innovation District, which was recently discussed by the city council with the approval of two agreements. In terms of entertainment, a new Sesame Place theme park officially opened this March. The said theme park is run by SeaWorld Entertainment and Sesame Workshop and is expected to bring in millions of dollars in revenue, and 900 job positions. With these developments, Chula Vista may be expecting even more people to move into the city.