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

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Tampa is a major city in the state of Florida, situated on the northern shore of Tampa Bay. The city is the largest in the Tampa Bay area and one of the fastest growing cities in the whole United States, with a population of over 385,000 in 2020 and several new residents moving in per day. This makes it the third most populated city in Florida next to Jacksonville and Miami, and the 52nd most populated city in the United States. A major economic center in the state of Florida, it is home to several major industries and numerous Fortune 500 companies. Tampa is responsible for bringing in over $15 billion to its home state with an economy driven by tourism, healthcare, finance, technology and maritime industries.

The Cost of Building a Custom Home in Tampa

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New movers are welcomed with property taxes lower than the national average, and an average cost of living 20% lower compared to its neighbor city, Miami. The absence of state income taxes also attracts many types of people to reside here. It is a very popular choice for new families and retirees, as it is known for having a safe community and excellent school districts. However, it also attracts many millennials and Gen-Z movers because of its bustling nightlife, lively food scene, and great beaches, golfers of all ages with its unrivalled collection of golf courses, and fitness buffs with its variety of jogging trails, sports facilities and gyms in the city.

Another factor possibly drawing in people is the bustling economy, which has been generating a wave of new job opportunities. Tampa has observed a heavy net migration rate over the past 4 years. Since 2018, the annual growth rate of the population is at 1.63%. According to the 2020 Miami Report, an average of 950 people move to Florida everyday with 115 on average moving to Tampa everyday. Since 2021, Florida has ranked top for net migration in the U.S. Census migration data. However, this influx of individuals to the Tampa Bay area has caused housing prices to go up as supply struggles to keep up with demand. Still, many of those who migrate to Tampa opt to own houses instead of rent due to low interest rates and high cost of rent in the city. Moreover, the real estate market in Tampa is one of the fastest growing in the United States. From June 2016 to 2021, the city has observed a dramatic increase in overall median home prices, ballooning from $197,000 to $271,000.

Architectural blog The House Designers lists the average cost of building a Tampa, Florida home from scratch at $250,000 to $350,000, or a range of $60-$150 per square foot. However, pricing differs based on factors like location, house size and footprint, and quality of the work. Costs for each new home construction will also vary depending on the labor and resources that go into it. Most homeowners tend to focus on just the framing, foundation, plumbing, roofing, and flooring during the planning phase. However, there are also other costs associated with new home construction such as architecture and design fees, builder fees, permits, and additional custom features. Every cost that affects the cost of building a home can be categorized into soft and hard costs, which can fluctuate independently.

Hard Costs

Hard costs are the various expenses related to the actual construction of the house. These include, but are not limited to, the cost of raw materials, labor fees, the cost of land and landscaping. These costs also cover the installation of utilities such as plumbing, electronics as well as heating and ventilation systems.

Building a home in Tampa, Florida can cost an aspiring homeowner an average of $121.81 per square foot for basic construction. In other words, a 2,400-square-foot house would cost around $293,000 to build. Budget homes can cost around $139 dollars per square foot, while the average or mid-range home can cost $188 per square foot. On the other hand, it will cost around $219 per square foot for a high-end home. 

The cost of setting a concrete foundation on a home costs an average of $5.64 per square foot for a 4-inch reinforced slab. Roofing prices vary widely depending on the quality of shingles and the overall materials. Asphalt roofing can cost a homeowner between $3.20 to $5.50 per square foot. Metal shingles cost as much as $6.20 to $9.70 per square foot. Building a roof for a 2,400-square-foot house would then cost around $7,900 to $23,280. As for electric costs, rewiring a new house ranges from $6-$8 per square foot, making the cost to rewire an average-sized house around $19,200. The installation of a centralized air conditioning system in Tampa, Florida can cost an average of $6,000, but this can vary based on the system size, energy efficiency (SEER), the unit’s comfort features, warranty and the contractor. 

In addition, even though Florida is known as the 33rd cheapest state to build a home in, average structure costs tend to be relatively higher. This is because Florida structures must adhere to higher building standards in order for structures to withstand inclement weather caused by Florida’s abundance of tropical storms.

Soft Costs

All other expenses not related to the physical structure of the house fall under soft costs. Such costs include the taxing and regulations that may be imposed by the state of Florida, which may include permit fees and land or real estate taxes. Interior designer and architect fees — anything related to the design of the house — are also considered soft costs.

Cost of the Land

Average lot sizes in Tampa span from 5,000 to 10,890 square feet, costing between $31.65 to $43.31 per square feet. Average lot costs were recorded in 2021 to span from $214,172 to $357,734.50.

Permits and Other Fees 

On average, building a home in Tampa includes permit fees that average at $7,757. This figure includes all homebuilding permits such as residential fees, building permit fees, electrical and mechanical permit fees, plumbing, gas, and other miscellaneous permits for amenities such as roofing, pool construction, and renovations.

Architecture and Design Fees

In Tampa, the cost of hiring an architect is normally 2-15% of the total build cost of the home. Home plans are also available online for roughly $2,000; however, it is highly suggested that aspiring homeowners hire an architect on a per hour basis to be able to plan their home with a specific design, vision, and lifestyle in mind. Stock home plans usually cater to the interest and lifestyle of the general market. Hiring an architect on a per hour basis can cost as much as $86.67 plus materials, $2.34 per square foot for the design cost, or at times, 6.97% of the total cost to construct a home.

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

Among the cities in Florida, Tampa is the 5th most expensive city in Florida to purchase land, after Naples, Sarasota, Jacksonville, and Orlando. However, buying land in Tampa is still attractive for new families considering that it has one of the safest school districts, based on U.S. Census data and population data from the FBI and CDC. 

What Leading Custom Home Builders and Architects that Serve the Tampa Area Say

Jennifer Motsinger, Executive President of the Tampa Bay Builders Associated stated in an interview that Tampa is still a challenging market for buying new homes. As of 2021, impact fees in Hillsborough county, Tampa have increased from $9,000 to $28,000. However, it’s still more affordable to own a home in Florida than it is to rent—making it a great city for families. 

The high demand in homes in Tampa, Florida makes the housing market susceptible to bidding wars. For every 10-20 homes released in the market, it is essential to offer a bid or risk getting left behind.

In addition, the 2020 pandemic also caused a shortage in building supplies—contributing to the increase in home prices in Tampa. Though costs are high, it is still one of the leading cities in the United States for new home construction.

According to premier architecture and building firm Dream Coast Builders, pre-pandemic  clients would have expected a price of roughly $250-300 per square foot for in-land construction projects, and $350-450 for waterfront projects. The difference in price accounts for the cost of building the house above a floodplain. Waterfront properties often are built with the first floor living space on the second floor, while the ground floor is built or used as storage or a garage – giving its residents and their belongings more protection against flooding.

The pandemic has brought a nationwide increase in supply costs that generated a series of supply chain issues. Fortunately, the real estate market continues to boom, making up for the higher cost of building. This level of growth in Florida real estate is good news for investors who desire a good return on their investments. Even with just half the rate of growth in the past, investors can still expect the value of their homes to grow at least 10% per year. Dream Coast Builders consistently receives inquiries from people living in other states who express interest in owning a piece of Tampa land for vacation homes as well as permanent residences.

The Future of Tampa’s Residential Construction Industry

The city of Tampa has consistently topped real estate rankings in the United States over the past years. This makes it a very popular site for both residential and commercial investors. Tampa’s construction and real estate market fortunately wasn’t heavily affected by the pandemic, unlike other cities around the country. 

The low supply of both resources and homes is a national concern, but it is more so in Tampa than in other cities due to the high demand for real estate investors. Construction costs are consistently rising by 5.4% yearly. Despite rising home prices, the demand for new homes grows consistently, causing a shortage of available homes.

Another driver for the strong real estate market in the city are the numerous, stable employment opportunities. The pandemic had caused a spike in unemployment nationwide which makes Tampa a desirable investment for real estate enthusiasts, investors, young adults and families. Tampa has managed to consistently outpace national unemployment rates for the past five years, which is a good indicator for stability in the area. Tampa is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States and it is projected that this high growth paired with a high demand in real estate will make it one of the hotspots for residential properties in the future.

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