The Cost of Construction
Even before the pandemic, the cost of building a new home was significantly higher than purchasing one of the existing houses in Stafford County. The average value of new homes built in Stafford County over the last 10 years is $269,252.
EcoDevo built a “moderate income” single-family home in Stafford that was 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms with an unfinished basement and an attached garage. It cost around $165,000 to build in 2015. Just 3 years later the cost to build that house had increased by about $30,000 and today it would cost over $250,000 to build the same house. When the County offered a $25,000 down payment assistance grant for individuals or families to build new houses within city limits, only 2 of the 4 grants were utilized during the 4-year period. Those “moderate income” houses were built for under $200,000 and today would cost over $250,000 to build. The majority of houses that are considered “moderate income” now have a starting price of $300,000 and a custom house starts around $500,000.
It took a year for EcoDevo to find a contractor able to build our current housing project within the existing grant and loan funding. The architectural estimate for the 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 1,100 sq. ft. prototype house was $110,000. The 3 bids we received from actual contractors for additional houses were $127,000, $184,000, and $228,000. The project wouldn’t have happened at either of the higher bids. The total cost for each house is coming in around $135,000, which is expected as the bids strictly cover construction costs and not other things like land surveys, transferring deeds, establishing a lawn, etc. These are not high-end, luxury houses. They were built to be affordable and are well designed in terms of maximizing the use of square footage and being energy-efficient.