Redmond is considered the bicycle capital of the northwest. Its extensive network of bicycle lanes and paved trails allows residents quick and easy access to their workplaces, schools, and other community centers. Located at the north end of Lake Sammamish and 15 miles northeast of Seattle, Redmond is the seventh most populous city in King County. The city attracts many families and young professionals with its great outdoors and plenty of job opportunities.
The presence of internationally-recognized companies in the area is one of the factors contributing to the city’s higher quality of life. In 2019, the city employed approximately 36,000 people, with Science and Technological Services being the top key industry. Nintendo America established its headquarters in the city in 2010, and Microsoft, which relocated to the city in 1986, is redeveloping some of its buildings for modernization. Amazon has acquired two new sites in the city as part of the company’s investment in the Puget Sound region.
According to a report by Stacker, King County is the fastest-growing county in Washington State with a 338,426 population change from 2010 to 2020. Redmond is home to 76,354, with a reported 1.8% rate change from the previous year. In comparison, Seattle reigns over the neighboring cities with the most population increase from one year over. However, with Emerald City’s strict restrictions on zoning and land policies, people are filing to other cities including Redmond which prompted median sale prices to skyrocket.
The Cost of Building a Home in Redmond
In 2020, single-family homes in the county rose to $880,000. With the pandemic forcing people to work remotely, the housing market became even more competitive. Properties came off the market in less than 10 days, contributing to a 16% increase in home sales in 2021. This year, the median price for Redmond has swelled to $1,365,000, which saw a 37.19% increase from the same period last year. With the low housing inventory and high demand for homes, how much does it cost to build a home in Redmond?
The average cost to build a home in the country is $207 per square foot. In Redmond, the average cost to build a house is $600 per square foot. But when it comes to home construction, there are numerous factors to consider: decisions about which materials to use and which contractors to hire can impact the overall appearance and value of the building. Moreover, all of these expenses can be divided into two categories: hard costs and soft costs.
Hard costs are all the expenses that are directly related to the physical construction of the house. These costs include the labor, materials, and equipment that will be used in the actual construction of the building. Hard costs may increase or decrease in value depending on the availability of supplies and the complexity of the project. The cost to build a value-conscious home in Redmond is $400 to $550 per square foot. For a mid-range home, it could cost homeowners $550 to $650 per square foot. A luxury home in Redmond could cost $650 per square foot and above. According to an architecture firm that serves the area, the quotes they are receiving recently are about 15 to 20% higher than the previous year.
The average foundation inspection cost in Redmond is $1,700. A good foundation can keep moisture out, insulate the house against the cold, and support the entire structure from natural disasters. The average cost to install insulation is $2,468. On the other hand, flooring installation costs typically between $975 and $7,319. The cost may vary depending on the type of flooring homeowners will use. A hardwood floor, for example, could cost homeowners $8,000 for a 1,000-square-foot home. Vinyl siding installation is estimated to cost around $3.96 per square foot. Roofing installation costs an average of $6,407. This estimate includes the cost of materials, equipment, and labor.
With a fairly cool climate, the average cost to install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in King County is between $1,667.00 and $1,981.00. On the other hand, electrical services in the city cost homeowners around $1,112.07 (including the labor and material costs.) For plumbing costs, the average cost to hire a plumber in the city is $501. Besides installations and the cost of services, homeowners should take into account the maintenance of these costs.
Soft costs are all the costs that do not directly affect the physical construction of the home but are needed for the construction to begin. These expenses are usually settled in advance to aid contractors in the land and design of the home. In addition, permits allow contractors to proceed with construction in compliance with the local government.
Figure 2. Soft cost percentage and average price range of additional fees, determined from the overall cost of custom home building in Redmond, Washington.
Cost of Land
According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM), the state has increased by more than 158,000 since the 2020 census. An amount of new construction accounting for 37% of new homes and apartments built in the state are located within King County. Because of this, many home buyers flock to the county to buy homes, which fuels a brutal housing market that asks for more than what the listing price states.
Redmond’s high cost of living is connected to its proximity to Seattle. Many of the increases in median home prices are mainly due to the increasing population Seattle attracts and tech companies in the area. Lots in Washington state cost an average of $678,263. The land average may increase or decrease depending on where it is located.
Permits and Other Fees
Permit applications in Redmond can be settled on the internet on Plan Review Online page or in person through the local government office. When personally applying for permits, the local government advises project owners to schedule an appointment through their online booking calendar.
According to Redmond’s schedule of fees, the valuation of the building permit is based on the work being performed under the International and Residential Codes. Fees for building permits fees are as follows:
In addition, the Plan Review Fee is equal to 65% of the building permit fee set in the table above. A 3% technology surcharge fee is also applied in addition to the listed fee.
Architecture and Design Fees
Architect fees depend on how their firms charge: some may charge hourly, some by percentage, and some a combination of both. The total cost to hire services may still depend on the complexity of the project and where it is located. On the national average, architects usually charge 5 to 20% of the total building cost. Other Seattle-based architects that serve Redmond can charge a lower rate at 5 to 10%. For design fees, the average range to hire an interior decorator in Redmond is between $1,083 to $14,583. As the architecture and design of the home affect its value, homeowners should look into local architects that can help make their dream home a reality.
How do the custom home building costs in Redmond compare to other nearby cities?
King County’s housing market has been competitive in the past months. Median home prices have increased due to population growth. In addition to this, companies in the area are adopting a hybrid work model to accommodate their employees as pandemic restrictions are changing. With the new work model, many employees who had moved during the remote work pandemic era are returning in order to go back into their offices, prompting large movements in the population.
In Redmond, the median home price in April 2022 was $1,365,000. This represents a 37.19% increase as compared to the previous year. The city’s increase rate is the fifth-highest in comparison to nearby cities.
In Woodinville, median sale prices of homes rose to $1,325,000 which saw a 46.17% increase from the previous year. To the west of Redmond, Kirkland saw a whopping 50.54% increase in the median price of their homes, which amounts to over $2,000,000. The city with the highest median price increase is Bellevue. Experts say that if a homeowner bought a home in the city the year prior, they would have saved more than $1,000,000. This year, Bellevue has increased a staggering 80.76% with median home sale prices of over $2,300.000.
What Leading Custom Home Builders and Architects that Serve the Redmond Area Say
According to Brian Brand of Baylis Architects, the cost of construction has increased substantially over the past year. Although the cost still varies depending on the project, many contractors are “reluctant to provide a hard quote due to the volatility of the market, particularly with materials.”
Brand shared that the costs have “stayed predictable” in the past five years and have only changed when the pandemic hit. The massive lockdowns have forced everyone to work remotely resulting in labor and material shortage around the world. It has significantly affected lead times and the total cost of construction. As expenses for home building increase, Brand assures their clients they are putting forth the best of their abilities to account for client budgets. “Our crystal ball is murky at best, and we try and be supportive of moving forward with their projects,” he shared. “If [the] cost goes down during the course of their project, they might save, depending on how their agreement is written.”
“We always recommend a time and material method of charging for costs, with a fixed fee and a guaranteed maximum price (GMP),” Brand said. With an unpredictable market, rising inflation rates, and the pandemic, Brand makes sure that when a decrease in cost is given, they can pass those savings to the owners without a reduction in their firm’s fee.
Betsy Walker, Marketing Manager and Design Project Coordinator of Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes shared that the disruption of supplies and labor shortages are among the challenges that affected the industry. “We are seeing more and more requests for renovations and remodels as new developments struggle to keep up with demand.”
Walker highlighted that the strong job market and tech industry presence in the city have made the housing market “especially strong.” However, this positive news does not change the negative effect of low housing inventory on the city. “Prices continue to rise as the housing inventory is still largely unavailable.” Meanwhile, lead times, material procurement, interest, and labor rates continue to affect the trends. Walker advises homeowners to be patient. “Have clear expectations of current timelines and costs, and consider opportunities in investment properties,” she added.
The Future of Redmond’s Residential Construction Industry
Seattle has been a great influence on the housing market in Redmond. As the population increases, many people flock to Emerald City’s neighboring cities to find a home for them. However, high demand for homes plus a low housing inventory results in a fiercely competitive market. With this, there is a lot of pressure in the industry and local government for initiatives and plans to ease the demand.
In 2019, Redmond received a grant to develop a housing action plan to identify strategies that will help optimize the housing supply of the city. A study on the plan saw that only 31% of Redmond residents live and work within the city limits. With this, the housing plan aims to prompt an increase in housing supply to provide opportunities for people from other towns to invest in the city.
Further plans on the city’s housing are featured on its comprehensive plan through 2030. Redmond aims to build roughly 53,500 housing units, which will represent 21,700 more housing units for its residents. The plan also features innovative and affordable housing, which aims to match smaller households and diverse populations for their housing needs.
Furthermore, the city government encourages residents to share their ideas and plans for the Redmond 2050 project. The local government can use this to refine and implement the community’s vision for its residents.
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