Nicknamed the “Garden City” and “Masters City,” Augusta is home to both numerous gardens and the Masters golf tournament. It is also a regional center of medicine, biotechnology, and cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the city’s economic outlook for 2022 is burdened by a sluggish overall job market and unpredictable factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation.
The Cost of Building a Home in Augusta
For the construction industry, a job training program was made available last March 2021 for people who are interested in shifting to construction-related work. The goal of the training program is to close the workforce skills gap and ultimately expand the pool of skilled workers for firms to employ.
Closing the workforce skill gap is expected to alleviate some of the costs associated with the labor shortage. Because there are not enough employees to keep up with the demand for new homes, the cost of new home construction has gone up. Market experts are attributing rising costs to the combination of rising demand, rising material costs, and the lack of labor. Sales for new builds have gone down as people look into simply buying older homes to avoid spending more than they can afford.
The national average of new home construction is at about $207 per square foot, whereas the average cost in Augusta is around $150 per square foot. It should be noted that the provided cost per square foot is an estimate and may differ from actual project costs, which are typically based on the type and quality. Augusta firms will generally charge between $90 to $210 per square foot for the home building cost. Overall costs will still have to take hard and soft costs into account.
Hard costs are related to the aspects of construction that are physically part of the house, including framing, foundation, plumbing, flooring, and roofing. Soft costs, on the other hand, are the other parts of construction. These are typically things like land costs, permitting fees, and architecture and design fees. Hard and soft costs will fluctuate independently of each other, which project owners should be mindful of.
New home construction projects in Augusta can range anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million in total. Some projects may cost more or less, depending on the complexity, square footage, and additional features. Project owners may see firms providing basic construction services for $90 to $129 per square foot but they are far and few in between. It is more common to see firms working on mid-value type projects for about $130 to $169 per square foot or $170 to $210 per square foot for luxury homes in the Augusta area.
In addition to basic construction costs, project owners also have to factor in other hard costs like foundation, roofing, HVAC installation, and electrical installation.
Roofing costs in Augusta typically range between $148.80 to $1,674 per 100 square feet, depending on the roofing type. The following table provides price ranges that project owners can expect to see:
The cost of concrete will vary based on what the concrete is for. Some of the common concrete costs are in the table below:
Major systems that project owners usually pay for include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical, and plumbing. HVAC installation will usually cost between $1,747 to $8,737 while electrical installation is priced at around $794 to $943 for materials, labor, and supplies. Plumbing services will cost $80 to $580, depending on the work being done.
Carpentry framing costs are between $863 and $7,773 but may be higher or lower depending on the project details.
Soft costs are the non-physical aspects of new home construction. The soft costs that are paid most attention to are things like design costs, permitting costs, and land.
Cost of the Land
Augusta is the third-largest city in Georgia and is currently experiencing inbound population growth. Positive population growth means that land prices in the city will increase more compared to cities with lower or stagnant population growth.
The land available for residential development in Augusta on Landwatch has an average price of $114,450.91. The cheapest lot, located along Mike Padgett Highway, is about 3,484.80 square feet and costs $6,989. Meanwhile, the most expensive lot is in Riverwatch Parkway. Being sold for $1,125,000, it is sized at around 214,750 square feet.
The lots on Redfin, meanwhile, cost $96,509.33 on average. Redfin’s cheapest lot for Augusta costs $4,000 for 3,484 square feet along 13th Avenue. The most expensive lot costs $550,000. The lot is 5,130,061.20 square feet and can be found along Wrightsboro Road.
Lastly, the Zillow lots have an average price of $101,720.29. The cheapest lot, along Polo Road, costs $10,000 and is about 3,484.80 square feet. The most expensive lot, located along Dennis Road, costs $550,000 and is around 5,130,061.20 square feet.
Permits and Other Fees
Information regarding the permitting process in Augusta can be found on the local government’s website. Permits can be applied online through the CityView Portal. Project owners should bear in mind that there are required fees before the issuance of a permit, which can be found on the local government’s website as well. The fee amounts are provided on the viewable Tax Amounts file.
Permits will not be issued until the necessary fees have been paid, which must be made at the time of applying. Below is the provided list of fees for residential permits taken from the website:
- Building, per square foot under roof – $0.06
- Electrical, per house – $50.00
- Mechanical, per house – $50.00
- Plumbing, per house – $50.00
- Fireplace, each – $8.00
- Inspection fee, per house on crawl space – $238 (14 inspections at $17 each)
- Inspection fee, per house on a slab – $255 (15 inspections at $17 each)
Permit values require the total cost, including plumbing, electrical, mechanical equipment, materials, and labor. There is also an additional fee for plan reviewing, which is 66% of the permit’s amount. This fee is applied to general, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits. One and two-family dwellings are exempted from plan review fees.
Project owners may contact the License and Inspection Department for inquiries. The office is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Mondays to Fridays. The phone number provided by the local government is (706) 312-5050.
Architecture and Design Fees
Architects commonly charge based on the construction value. In Augusta, most firms will charge about 9.30 to 9.77%, depending on the services provided, project complexity, and architect experience.
Some architects may charge by the hour or by square footage. In Georgia in general, project owners can expect to come across firms charging $50 to $180 and up per hour. The pricing will vary based on the request, project location, and the architect’s position, experience, and reputation. Some of the common services project owners avail of are layered drawings, project management, concept development, consultation, and site visits.
The Future of Augusta’s Residential Construction Industry
The construction industry in Augusta is experiencing a boom that is necessitating more skilled workers to keep up with the demand. With the overall employment of construction laborers and helpers projected to grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, construction firms are looking into ways to train the workforce.
Workers in Augusta who are interested in construction work have the opportunity to join a free job training program to gain entry-level skills. The Construction Ready program provides entry-level laborers the chance to grow into fully skilled carpenters or electricians.
The program is expected to close the skills gap and bring more skilled workers into the industry.
As the cost of construction continues to rise due to factors like labor shortages, materials costs, and inflation, downtown Augusta is undergoing renovations to provide affordable housing. The city was selected to receive a $450,000 planning grant to develop affordable housing in conjunction with efforts to revitalize the three poorest Augusta areas.
Additionally, there have been more ongoing rehabilitation projects aimed at providing affordable housing. Firms like GreenSpace Communities, LLC are working on turning abandoned houses into affordable homes. Oscar A. Jessie, GreenSpace Communities’ owner, would list his projects at 10 to 20% below the market value to encourage individuals to have some equity when moving into homes. These abandoned houses underwent reconstruction and rehabilitation to become livable next to newly built homes.
Some developers are also renovating historical structures for affordable housing, including Augusta’s old charter bus terminal and a pre-Civil War house.
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