The Palmer Group

The Mystery Behind Boston Residential New Construction Sq. Ft. Costs.

Massachusetts New Construction Homes For Sale.

Understanding Massachusetts New Home Construction Sq. Footage.


Many buyers like to break things down into simple equations they can use to compare properties.

The most popular comparision we see is the cost per sq.ft.

The basic formula is to divide the price of the house by the number of sq.ft. to determine your cost per sq.ft.  We are all for a fair and accurate way to compare costs but this basic formula doesn’t necessarily work in every situation.

Cost of land:

The most obvious is the cost of the Land.  You may be looking at a very similar style house with very similar features and layout but one property is on a bigger lot or in a more desirable area of town.  The difference between the cost of the land could be hundreds of thousands of dollars which would make one house appear more expensive per sq.ft.

Two story colonial home vs a single level home:

If I were to show you two homes in a town with the exact same sq.ft., the exact same lot size, very similar neighborhood you would think they would have similar sq.ft. costs, right?  What if I was to tell you one of the houses was a very traditional straight box colonial and the other a rambling single story ranch home.  If I were to ask you which house would have the cheaper sq.ft. cost or be the cheaper to build 9 out of 10 people would say the single story home.

The truth of the matter is that even though they have the exact same square footage the single level home would actually costs more to build.  The reason why is you would have twice as much foundation to dig, pour, and build.  You would have twice as much roof underlayment, framing, roofing materials, valley work, ice and water proofing.  You would also probably have more exterior corner boards and trim material.  The list goes on an on but the bottom line is the single story home would have a significantly higher sq.ft. cost making it not a fair comparison.

Cheap builder vs high end builder using the exact same house plan:

Another example might be if you were to look at two colonial homes each built using the exact same plan by two different builders.  One builder is a cheap builder and the other has a solid reputation as a good quality builder.

The cheap builder builds using vinyl siding, a 20 year roof shingle, OSB underlayment, 2×4 construction, basic hot air heating and single zoned cooling system, carpet versus hardwoods, cheap windows and doors, small moldings, minimal insulation, fiberglass tubs and showers, cheap tile laid straight, home depot lighting and plumbing fixtures, and a full overlay kitchen cabinet with low grade granite.

The high end builder builds the exact same house only he’s using top of the line windows, 50 year architectural roof shingles, plywood underlayment, 2×6 construction, extra insulation, separate multi zoned base board heating system, separate multi zoned cooling system, hardwood floors thru-out, tiled baths and showers, custom tile laid on a diagonal, custom lighting and plumbing fixtures, and a custom inset door and drawer style kitchen cabinet.  I think you get the point the sq.ft. costs on these two homes is going to be significantly different.

Whose measuring the sq.ft. and what are they counting:

The other thing to look at is whose measuring.  Unfortunately there are no exact rules here and you might have the builders measuring one way and realtors a totally different way.  Some parties may measure things like walk-in closets, laundry rooms, back halls, finished basement without heat, 3rd floor with a low ceiling, heated garages, eaves, dormers, etc.  Some parties might measure off the foundation like most of the assessors offices.

If your unsure or confused the best thing to do is work with a realtor who understands how these numbers are calculated and a realtor who can help you determine if you are paying too much per sq.ft. based on the materials used and the style of the house.

For the past twenty five years we’ve been tracking locally what the different builders pay for land, what their costs is to build per sq.ft., what the retail costs to you the consumer.  We track hundreds of different builders in 17 different towns so we are able to provide our buyer clients with a unique advantage when it comes to purchasing new construction. 

If you would like to see if we have a chart for your town simple email us at [email protected] and if available Mike will gladly send you a free, no obligations, detailed report showing you some pretty revealing insights into the cost of new construction. here locally. 

If you are thinking about buying or building a new construction home in Massachusetts we would love to assist you.  Our experience and know how could help you save significant money.  Give us a call at, 508-596-7377 or email [email protected].


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We are Massachusetts real estate specialists. With over 30 years experience selling, buying, and developing homes we have earned our distinction in a crowded market of agents claiming to be #1.  If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller meeting with us, contact us  at 508-596-7377  or [email protected].


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