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

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Jacksonville is an exceptional haven perfectly situated along the Atlantic Ocean. It strikes the balance between a luxurious yet affordable destination for visitors and those looking to live in a culture-filled city with vibrant nightlife. With an abundance of natural parks, breweries, and authentic cuisine, this city attracted over 120 million visitors in 2019. The combination of diverse economic activity and leisure are among the reasons why this city is ideal for young professionals and families alike.   

Single-family detached homes are still among the leading residential types in the area. According to Norada Real Estate, Jacksonville’s real estate market has increased by 85% over the last decade. With this in mind, it is important to note that buying and building homes in the city continues to flourish as a profitable market. Jacksonville offers a number of great neighborhoods to build houses in including Bartram Park, Julington Creek, Northside, and Orange Park. With all this information, residents and newcomers have one thing to ask: how much does it cost to build a house in Jacksonville? 


The Cost of Building a Custom Home in Jacksonville

According to Jacksonville.com, Northeast Jacksonville has experienced a growth spurt in new construction. Advances in technology-enabled telecommuting has allowed people to slowly move from cities to suburbs and rural areas. John Elis III of Legacy Engineering said, “These are people who are looking for a lifestyle change and the ability to work from anywhere. What they see here is a vibrant downtown area, pristine outdoor areas nearby, and a host of economic benefits from the cost of housing to no state income taxes. In addition to the situation brought by the pandemic, most people find Florida a place synonymous with tourism, healthcare, and a diverse economy with tons of opportunities. 

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Considering its growing population, we studied the costs related to residential building in the city. After thorough research and collaboration with different contractors and architects, we have concluded the latest estimates for constructing a new home in Jacksonville. 

For value-conscious homes, per square foot cost ranges from around $75 to $130. Mid-range homes will cost $130 to $250, while high-end homes can cost more than $250 per square foot. Factors that affect these prices include the economic impact of the pandemic, supply chain issues, and the current state of the local real estate market.

Building houses is a process that starts with a well-thought out plan and is followed by the actual construction. The costs related to the planning and preparation stage are commonly referred to as soft costs while the costs involved in the proper construction are referred to as hard costs. To guide homeowners along the process, Home Builder Digest put together a list of the hard and soft costs needed to complete your new Jacksonville home. 

Hard Costs


Now, more than ever, is a time where homebuilding clients need to be more flexible with their budget. Multiple construction materials have experienced a price hike, specifically the cost of lumber. In an interview with First Coast News, Michael Lanahan of Lanahan Lumber said that a year ago,  half-inch treated plywood costs $28, yet today, this ranges from $56.46 and up. Another hard cost affected by the unprecedented times is labor. The labor shortage that the country faces creates a huge impact on low-wage jobs, including construction laborers. Today, they get paid an average of $14 per hour, but can also go as high as $20, depending on their skills and certifications. 

Currently, HomeAdvisor’’s data states that the typical range of foundation costs that homeowners in Florida have spent range from $3,400 to $6,200. For Jacksonville, a hurricane-prone area, the most ideal type of foundation is pier and beam. As it requires serious planning and rigid materials to support the home, this type of foundation will cost an average of $6 to $12 per square foot.

For the roof, the most common options for Jacksonville residents are shingle, metal, tile, and built-up. A small-sized shingle roof can cost a total of $6,000 to $8,500, while larger ones with special features can cost as much as $30,000 to $40,000. According to ProMatcher, installation of a metal roof ranges from $690 to $906 per square, a big price difference compared to flat roof installation that costs $120 to $200 per square. Meanwhile, a standard tile roof installation costs $696 to $1,115 per square. 

More than good maintenance, the real key to having an effective plumbing system is to have a sufficient potable water supply, safe drainage, and adequate fixtures and equipment to begin with. Hiring a contractor to build these systems costs $64 to $73 per hour. Other core residential components are the electrical system, HVAC, and insulation. For electric utility installation, Manta’s data reveals that Jacksonville homeowners have paid $780 to $1,100 for a service that includes materials, labor, and clean-up. This needs to be as heavy-duty as possible, for this will support the HVAC system, which can cost $3,500 to $6,000 for the unit and installation. Lastly, insulations. The cheapest type is rolled insulation which starts at $0.79 per square foot, followed by the blown attic which costs around $0.93 per square foot or above, and the spray foam that starts at $1.21 per square foot.

Figure 1. Average cost breakdown of a single-family home constructed in Jacksonville, according to Home Builder Digest.

Soft Costs

Soft costs in construction refer to anything that does not deal with the direct or physical construction of a home. These often come in the form of taxes, design services, permit fees, land, and other legal fees. It can happen anywhere within the construction process from pre to post-construction. Different projects may call for different soft costs depending on their scope and requirements. While soft costs seem less intimidating, these can be problems later on in the construction if overlooked. Listed below are some of the soft costs that are necessary for building a home: 

Cost of the Land

People purchase land in Florida for various reasons. Some for growing crops and raising livestock, while some for developing a subdivision or building a new home. If you are one of the latter, then Jacksonville is indeed an ideal location. Like Naples, Melbourne, Orlando, Pensacola, and TampaIt, Jacksonville is a high-priced area because of its dense population. Per square foot prices start at $2, and can also go as high as $29. According to Zillow, buyers commonly pay $5 to $9 per square foot for a vacant lot. Additional and discretionary fees such as land survey cost start at a fixed price of $390. This price will go up depending on the accessibility, material, terrain, vegetation, size, and records of the existing land.  

Architecture and Design Fees 

Architects in the Jacksonville area typically charge $6,800 to $18,600, but some also do an hourly rate which starts from $90 to $140 per hour, or $4 to $8 per square foot. Hiring the best residential architects in Jacksonville pays off by having a home that truly reflects the fusion of historic and modern styles. These artisans have watched Jacksonville grow as a city that encompasses thriving businesses and striking residences. Helping these professionals with their tasks are interior designers whose cost starts from $1,000 to $4,500 or around $12 to $28 per square foot according to Studio M Interior Design. This will further be affected by the scope, design preference, and materials used by the designer. For structural engineers, rates can go from $400 to $980 or $0.25 to $2 per square foot.    

Permits and Other Fees 

Florida is known as the hurricane capital of the US. In the past few years, the state has faced and felt the destruction brought by hurricanes Irma, Michael, and Andrew among others. This has strengthened the state’s initiatives of creating updated building codes for the durability of its structures and the safety of its residents. In Jacksonville, these building codes are monitored through the use of building permits. The Jacksonville Building Inspection Division is responsible for giving permits and ensuring that projects comply with the state’s and county’s building codes.

According to HomeAdvisor, a typical permit cost in Florida ranges from $542 to $1,282. Home Builder Digest reviewed government websites and documents to come up with an estimate of the total permit fees each homeowner needs to build a home. 

Building

  1. Jacksonvillebeach.org gave a detailed list of Building Permit Fees per project valuation:
    • $20 for the first $1,000 + $5 for each additional $1000
    • $260 for the first $50,000 + $4 for each additional $1000
    • $460 for the first $100,000 + $3 for each additional $1000
    • $1,660 for the first $500,000 + $2 for each additional $1000
  2. Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical Permit Fees
    • A single trade permit for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical installations each start at $75

Miscellaneous

  1. Roofing Permit Fee starts at $75
  2. Deck Installation Permit Fee starts at $150, plus any additional inspection fees
  3. Pool Installation Permit Fee starts at $75, plus any additional inspection fees

Figure 2. Breakdown of soft costs in Jacksonville, according to Home Builder Digest.


How do the custom home building costs in Jacksonville compare to other cities in Florida? 


The 2021 national average cost of building a home starts from $287,466 and up according to HomeAdvisor. This number has increased by over $47,000 from 2020’s survey which averaged from $240,000. Meanwhile, construction costs in Florida are 5% lower than the 2021 national average and in Jacksonville, this is further reduced by 2%. It puts the city among one of the more affordable places to build a home when comparing it to cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando. Construction in these more affluent neighborhoods can start from $150 to $400 and up per square foot. 

Figure 3. “The Best Times to Visit Florida” Roundtript, n.d. https://roundtript.com/best-times-to-visit-florida/.


Major Custom Home Building Trends Across the Web for Jacksonville  


Consulting the web for home construction fees will give one a wide range of prices from low-end to high-end custom homes. Reviewing sites like HomeAdvisor, Upgraded Home, Porch, and Home-cost has given the team an overview and idea of the average prices in Jacksonville. The cost of building a house in Jacksonville falls within the national average costs of $100 to $500 or more per square foot. According to Porch, building costs can start for as low as $75.43 per square foot which puts a decent size 1.500-square-foot home in Jacksonville at $113,145. While a more mid-ranged 2,000-square-foot home priced at $131.82 per square foot land anywhere near $263,640. And a high-end custom home with a 3,500-square-foot plan will be priced at $862,225 and up. 

Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods for families include Riverside, Deerwood, and Orange Park. While places like Five Points, The Beaches, and Downtown Jacksonville are the perfect places for young professionals who enjoy a rich culture and nightlife. A 2,000-square-foot home in these neighborhoods will range between $414,100 to $515,253. And a 3,500-square-foot home will range from $724,630 to $901,690.


What Leading Custom Home Builders and Architects that Serve Jacksonville Say

We reached out to home builders and architects serving Jacksonville to obtain in-depth information regarding the costs of residential construction.


The Future of Jacksonville’s Residential Construction Industry


Without a doubt, 2020 has been a tumultuous year for everyone. Businesses, especially construction, had their fair share of difficulties from a shortage in labor to the spiking prices of materials. Despite this situation, Jacksonville’s home construction continues to pick up the pace and gain momentum. A recent interview of Jax Daily Record with Robert Dietz, an economist at the National Association of Home Builders, revealed that in the past year, the population in Jacksonville increased by 1.7%. This created a surge in building permits putting the city at the 11th spot for largest markets for single-family homes. 

Figure 4. Top Areas with New Construction Market Share in 2020. Source: “Annual Report on the Northeast Florida Housing Market.” Northeast Florida Association of Realtors, January 8, 2021. https://www.nefar.com/uploads/filesets/8/62e7649a9463a01bf35f8305e2795d32.pdf.

Several real estate experts shared their thoughts on the influx of housing permits and demand for homes in Jacksonville. Jacksonville Business Journal recently interviewed Gary Griffin, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida. According to Griffin, although the construction industry has faced some difficulties and significant backlogs, this has not hindered the community from moving forward. He added that while the current situation is tough, it is something that the industry will face head-on. In line with this, the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR), reported that builders received over 1,422 home permits in July bringing the total of residential permits to 11,181. With only a few months left in the year, builders and realtors are expecting the permit total to come close to or beat 2020’s 12,555 residential permits.

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