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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in Pennsylvania?

Average Cost Range
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RS Means construction materials database.
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Find costs near you.

Updated On

December 18, 2023

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If you are planning to build a house from scratch in PA, the first thing you should evaluate is the average cost. You will have to take into account factors such as the land price and the labor cost, for example, and make sure that the estimated cost is aligned with your budget. 

Want to know more? Then read the rest of my house construction price guide for Pennsylvania. 

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Is It Better to Build a House from Scratch?

To answer which one is better—building a house from scratch in Pennsylvania or purchasing a pre-built structure—depends heavily on the owner. If, for instance, you prefer a custom-built house, then building from scratch is a much better option. It will give you the freedom you need to design your house, unlike pre-built houses that are often uniform. 

But the catch is building from scratch is a lot more expensive. It usually costs $350,000 up to $1 million or more. Also, building a house is a laborious task and will take you some time before the construction is complete. 

On the other hand, if you want a less taxing (and a relatively cheaper way) to own a house, then buying a pre-built structure that comes with the land is the best option. Generally, a pre-built house costs around $285,000. 

But do take note that the cost of both options depends significantly on the area’s (Pennsylvania, in this case) housing market. In some instances, like when the demand for land and labor is low but the supply is large, building a structure from scratch would be way more affordable. 

The Average Cost to Build a House in Pennsylvania

As mentioned, the average price for building a house varies and will differ depending on several factors (which I will elaborate on in the next sections). But to get an estimated price, contractors calculate it by the square foot.

That said, the average cost of new home construction, according to Home Advisor, ranges between $100 to $200 per square foot, with a national average of about $286,418 for 2,000 square-foot homes. But note that the estimate is only for simple house structures. And if you are planning for a custom-built and luxury house, you will need to pay at least $500 per square foot. Hence, the typical average cost of building a house in Pennsylvania is between $120,844 and $452,477

New York$250,000–$950,000

What Constitutes the Full Cost of Building a House in PA?

There are a number of factors that could affect the average price of new house construction. Starting from the land price down to house amenities, all of these would constitute the full cost of building a house in PA. 

Construction materials such as roofing, concrete, and lumber are essential parts of building a house. In fact, it typically occupies the largest percentage—50%, to be exact—of the house construction’s total price. But do take note that the said percentage is just a general estimate and may significantly increase or decrease depending on the materials’ quality. 

Having said that, below is a list of prices for each (basic) material you will need for building a house in Pennsylvania.

  • Roofing. According to Home Advisor, the typical price range for roofing ranges between $1,000 to $3,000. But roofing materials come in different types, which means the price for each type will vary.
    Shingle roofing, for instance, could cost you around $5,500 and can go up to $11,500, particularly for large structures. In other words, the type of roofing will essentially dictate how much you will need to spend on the said material.
  • Siding. If you want to invest in quality sidings, expect to spend at least $12 per square foot for something that is weatherproof and there are other types of siding too. And some types like natural stone or vinyl are cheaper. 
  • Landscaping. For those planning to build custom-built houses with the outdoor landscape, prepare to spend at least $2, 000 for a professional service. The cost may increase or decrease as well, depending on the style, design, and how intricate the process is.
  • Drywall. The overall cost of drywall installation depends heavily on the quality of drywall and the size of the area that needs to be covered. That said, a standard drywall costs around $10 per sheet. Per square foot, on the other hand, expect to spend at least $2.25.
  • Flooring. In terms of flooring, the average cost often ranges between $6 to $10 per square foot. The price may slightly differ, however, depending on the variety as well as the brand. 
  • Fixtures. Fixtures such as the sink, bathtubs, showers, and toilets can get you to spend around $5,000. But remember that it is for standard and simple fixtures only. If you prefer something luxurious, then prepare a budget of $10,000 or more.
  • Doors and windows. Doors and windows vary in price depending on the type, size, as well as style. Hence, how much you would spend for these will be based heavily on what the house needs and your preferences. Interior doors, for example, cost $250, while exterior doors cost around $400 up to $3, 500. The price of a standard window, on the other hand, costs $175 or more. All in all, the typical amount homeowners spend on installing doors and windows is between $6,000 to $8,500. 
  • Countertops and kitchen cabinets. When it comes to cabinets and countertops, the first thing you should base the price upon is your preferences. The price of a standard, builder-grade type of cabinet, for instance, costs around $6,550. And the average for countertops costs around $2, 450.

When it comes to foundation and framing, the quality of the structure and the size of the house are what usually dictates its overall cost. Building a house frame in PA, for example, costs around $20,000 to $50,000. It covers the whole house frame already. However, the estimated price is subject to change depending on the size—as well as the location—of the rooms. 

The cost of building the foundation of a house, on the other hand, depends heavily on the type of structure as well as the size. A foundation for a house with no basement, for example, cost between 4,000 to $25,000. And that’s about $10 to $100 per square foot.

However, if you are looking to build a house with a basement, prepare to spend more. The estimated price could be around $10,000 up to $30,000 or $110 to $300 per square foot. 

System installation such as electrical, insulation, and plumbing could cost you a significant amount of money too. In Pennsylvania, you will have to spend $30,000 to 75,000 for the said three systems. But usually, it depends on the size and the type of system. 

That being said, here’s a rough estimate for each system:

  • HVAC system: $1,500 to $13,000
  • Electrical and wiring: $20,000 to $30,000
  • Plumbing system: $7,000 to $15,000

Read also: Financial Incentives for Going Solar in Pennsylvania

If the construction materials occupy 50% of the overall house building price, labor then represents 30% to 60% of it. Essentially, it will vary depending on factors such as the size of the house, the type and design, as well as the contractor’s credibility as a builder.

Custom-built houses may require higher costs too, as the process is more intricate compared to a standard house structure. 

That being said, below is an estimated cost for each labor in PA:

  • Framer rate: $7 to $16 per square foot
  • Construction manager: $3,000 to $50,000
  • Roofing rate: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Electrician: $50 to $100 per hour
  • Plumber: $45 to $200 per hour

The general price of purchasing land in all states ranges between $3,000 to $150,000 per lot, which may vary depending on the size of the land. In Pennsylvania, for example, the average price of land is $370,034 per acre.

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House Financing in Pennsylvania

Building a house in PA is indeed financially overwhelming. But the good thing is that the state operates its own organization for housing loans called Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).

Essentially, what PHFA does is that it partners with several brokers and lenders specifically for first-time homebuyers—both local or not—that provides mortgages with lower interest rates and fees. The organization will then purchase the loan if the applicant is approved.

Having said that, below are three of PHFA’s homebuyer programs.

  • Keystone Home. The Keystone Home is a loan program specifically for first-time homebuyers and discharged veteran armed forces living anywhere in the country, including Pennsylvania. It also offers loans to selected counties in PA. Essentially, it provides several kinds of loans, such as VA loans, FHA loans, or conventional loans. Applicants need to meet the lender’s household income limit and purchase price limit to qualify.
  • Keystone Government Loan (K-Gov). K-Gov offers loan programs for both first-time and non-first-time homebuyers. It offers affordable mortgages through housing loan programs like VA, FHA, and USDA loans. 
  • HFA Preferred (Lo Mi). Essentially, this program is made to help homebuyers—first-time or not—to have low mortgage insurance despite low house down payment. It is open for purchasing and refinancing. There are no purchase limits as well. However, to qualify, the applicant’s income must fall within its program limits.
Editorial Contributors
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Elisabeth Beauchamp

Senior Staff Writer

Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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Lora Novak

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Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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