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

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Akron is the fifth-largest city in Ohio and the 125th largest city in the country. Nicknamed the “Rubber Capital of the World,” the city holds a long history of manufacturing the said material thanks to the Akron-born, multinational, and Fortune 500 business, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The company has also been the sole tire supplier of NASCAR since 1954. Akron has also made significant contributions to the food industry with the help of Ferdinand Schumacher, who created the breakfast staple, American oatmeal. He went on to establish several mills, which would eventually merge with other companies to form what is today’s Quaker Oats Company. The city was also the home of prominent basketball players LeBron James and Stephen Curry. 

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed businesses and schools to pursue remote interaction. In Akron, a survey showed that one out of five workers is still working from home. Downtown Akron is struggling to boost its economy as businesses cannot offer the option to telecommute. The city’s population is also decreasing, which is another hurdle for the local government as it was aiming for a total of 250,000 residents by 2050. According to the Greater Ohio Policy Center, the six biggest cities in Ohio, which includes Akron, might see a net decrease of $306,000,000 due to the effects of remote working. This is because workers from home, regardless of the location of their employer, pay local income tax to the city they reside in. These issues urged the city government to review and implement policies that will help the area recover.

The Cost of Building a Home in Akron

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With this information, prospective project owners and developers may ask: how much does it cost to build a home in Akron, Ohio?

Niche ranks Akron as the tenth city with the lowest cost of living in America. Compared to the national average of 100, Akron’s average cost of living is around 69.5, which is lower than the state average of 82.6. When it comes to housing cost index, Akron is at 28.8, which is even lower than Ohio’s housing index of 60.9. Nationally, building a 2,000-square-foot home costs an average of around $300,000 according to Forbes, which in Ohio would cost $222,480 to construct. Krupp Moving & Storage shares that the total project cost of a new single family home in Akron can range anywhere from $245,000 to $359,000

In 2021, Akron began its first residential development after the implementation of the tax abatement back in 2017. The tax abatement is a policy adopted by the Akron city government which exempts 100% of the added property value on new home construction or major renovations for 15 years. This is to aid the city in revitalizing and stabilizing the housing market for the residents by having the government invest in housing and infrastructure. With the appraisal gaps intensifying with low-interest rates driving up demand, home prices in Akron nearly doubled between 2015 and 2022. Prior to the current city administration, Akron was issuing an average of less than 20 permits annually. As of 2021, this number increased, with 1,800 housing units either being planned, under construction, or completed. 

The cost of building a custom single family home in Akron depends on the labor, professional service, and materials it requires. Some of the other components fluctuate independently from each other, including the foundation, framing, exterior, and interior finishing. There are also various fees associated with building a home that would have to be settled before starting the actual construction. This includes, but is not limited to, architecture and design, building permits, land and zoning, plumbing, electrical, and home additions. 

Hard Costs

The hard costs are the various expenses that help construct the physical structure of the home. These include the materials, labor, and even the total building value, and these costs may vary with the quality or even the waiting time. The cost to build a new home in Akron depends on the type of materials used and the complexity of the project. Zumpano Construction shares that building a new home in Akron can cost around $125 to $222 per square foot

Figure 1. Typical cost breakdown of a single-family home constructed using the conventional method, according to Home Builder Digest.

ProMatcher data shows that carpentry framing in Akron costs around $21.40 to $24.99 per square foot. For exteriors, TK Roofing and Gutters discusses the best roofing choices and its corresponding prices. Asphalt shingles are considered the most cost-effective roofing solution, and can range from $11,250 to $18,750, or around $4.50 to $7.50 per square foot for a 2,500-square-foot house. Other popular materials include slate shingles, tile shingles, and metal roofs. 

Systems like heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) depend on the brand used and the size of the house. Choosing the right system for a home may also depend on the lifestyle of the client, as well as the overall climate in the area. For HVACs, Duct Pros HVAC Service Center states that the cost of installation can range from $2,783 to $13,916

Soft Costs

Soft costs are expenses beyond the physical construction of the home, such as architectural design, pre-construction, land development, and permit fees like building, plumbing, water, and others.

Cost of the Land

Finding the perfect lot is vital in the process of home construction since one might need to make adjustments in the design to accommodate a certain land feature. Prices may vary with several factors, such as view, amenities, land topography, and even its distance from metropolitan or commercial areas. As of March 2022, the average cost of land listings is $101,069.77, with the average price per square foot at $4.46. These values may still increase depending on the development status of the land, or if it is fit for residential construction since some properties listed on websites may be undeveloped. Currently, the cheapest listing available for Akron is a 5,715-square-foot unimproved land, while the most expensive is priced at $45.11 per square foot or a total of $54,000 for a 1,197-square-foot property. 

Permits and Other Fees 

Permits shall be filed online through the Plan Review Web Portal. New dwellings have a permit fee of $1,500, while accessory structures have a corresponding $50 fee. For pre-construction fees, razing is $100 per home, while grading and paving will be inspected after the project completion for billing purposes. 

The Right-of-Way Opening will also be billed for inspection once the project is completed. This requires a Performance Bond, which will be based on the amount of Right-of-Way or $10,000, whichever is larger; a $500 deposit for repair of curb, drive apron, and curb; and a homeowner affidavit if the homeowner will be doing the work. Lastly, the Right-of-Way Occupancy is $35 per 100 square feet

Architecture and Design Fees

Architecture and design fees 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, others may require extensive research, attention to detail, and further consultation with other industry professionals. Nationally, the architect and design rates range anywhere between 5 and 20% of the total construction cost. For Akron, architect fees in the city generally cost around 10 to 20% of the total project cost, while consultations may cost around $350 for one to two hours of brainstorming.

How do the custom home building costs in Akron compare to other nearby cities?

GO Banking Rates shared a list of unexpected cities to invest in 2022, which includes Akron. With the average home selling at around $100,000, it is also possible to purchase a rental property below $100,000 with a cap rate in excess of around 8%. According to Realtor, the median listing price of homes in Akron for February 2022 is $109,900 with the average cost per square foot at $84. On average, homes spend around 53 days on the market, and with a sale-to-list price ratio of 99.94%, the city is considered a seller’s market. This means that there are more people looking for homes than the number of available homes in the market. 

Stow is located in Ohio, eight miles away from Akron. Based on BuildZoom permit data, the average project cost in the city is $226,433, or around $56 per square foot. New single family home construction costs start at $30 per square foot. As of February 2022, the existing home prices in the city is more than twice the median of Akron, at $264,300, or around $128 per square foot according to Realtor.  

Wadsworth is a nearby city also located in Ohio, 15 miles away from Akron. BuildZoom permit data states that the average cost of single family home construction in the city is around $245,229, or around $56 per square foot. New home construction in the area can cost as low as $48 per square foot, and can go as high as $89 per square foot. According to Realtor, the median price for existing homes as of February 2022 is around $210,000, or $124 per square foot. On average, homes spend 60 days listed on the market, and may get sold at around $225,000.

The Future of Akron’s Residential Construction Industry

Akron allocated what can be considered its largest investment towards parks and recreation projects in history. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) states that around 79% of Akron residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park. As of 2022, only 11% of the city land is used for parks and recreation, while the national median is 15%. There are also developments aimed at rehabilitating existing properties to help homeowners sell or rent out the homes. For example, the Well Community Development Corporation is in the middle of renovating 60 homes within 60 months, and as of 2021, they have rented out 35 of the homes, and have sold two. 

The Akron City Government has been making efforts to curb the issue of housing affordability, and one is by creating a new committee to ensure that residents are living in decent and affordable housing. Another effort is the  Planning to Grow Akron 2.0, which promises better housing code enforcement, stricter fines on absentee landlords, better zoning and permitting process, a landlord-tenant council, a comprehensive plan to combat homelessness this 2022, and a housing trust fund to help homeowners in improving their homes. With the new home loans and assistance programs, Akron is looking towards federal funding or getting a portion of the budget it will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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