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The cost of building a house in South Africa

Building a house grants you the opportunity to forge a home in your own image, but what is the cost of building a house? Here's what you need to know.

Cost Of Building A House

Article summary

  • The house is measured in square meters, with the average rate per square meter being available at the STATSSA website and at various municipalities.
  • The overall cost of building the home will usually be a combination of the rate per square meter, combined with construction costs, the cost of interior fittings, and the fees paid out to professionals such as the quantity surveyor and architect.
  • Funding construction requires a building loan rather than a home loan. Unlike the home loan, the building loan is paid out in stages rather than all at once.

Building a house from scratch is a substantial undertaking, but it grants you the opportunity to forge a home in your own image. If it’s taking you too long to find your dream home, then you can take matters into your own hands by building one; and if you have the creative spark, building a house from scratch can be an exciting endeavor.

The cost to build a house: Estimating your expenses

The cost of building a house depends mainly on the following factors:

  • Location: Whether you intend to build in a developed urban area or a remote location will influence the size of the house you’re going to build, which in turn affects costs. The cost of the land you build on will also be influenced by the location. The location may also require specific adjustments to the home plan; for example a home built near the coast needs thicker roof sheeting than one built further inland. Safety measures such as waterproofing also need to be taken into account.
  • Quality and design: This refers to factors such as the quality of plaster and paint, the quality of the soil, the design of the structure, the thickness of the walls and so on.
  • Size: Floor size is one of the main factors in determining the home cost. Measured in square meters; the higher the square meter count, the higher the price.

According to Briefly, estimated price ranges are as follows:

  • R8 000 to R13 000 per square meter for a high-end, market quality house.
  • R5 000 per square meter for lower cost housing.
  • R20 000 per square meter and above for high-quality homes.

Breaking down the cost of building a house

The final cost will usually be a combination of the following expenses:

  • Cost per Square meter: The number of square meters can be gleaned from the architect’s plans for the building, while the average rates per square meter can be accessed at the STATSSA website. You can also get the average rates from municipalities, property developers, contractors and quantity surveyors.
  • Construction: Includes the cost of materials required to build the outer shell of the building, such as bricks, cement and windows.
  • Specialist items: Cupboards, lights, kitchen and bathroom fittings; and so on.
  • Professional fees: Professionals who will need to be involved in the construction of the home include the quantity surveyor, architect, various engineers and geologists.
  • Miscellaneous fees: Such as travel and accommodation fees for remote sites, administrative fees and planning expenses.

However, also bear in mind the costs you save by building a house rather than buying one, such as:

  • You don’t have to pay transfer duty.
  • You have fewer maintenance issues.
  • You don’t have to pay administrative fees for the legal process of transferring a home from one owner to another.
  • Building a new home provides tax benefits, such as the ability to claim depreciation over the next few years.

What about prefabricated homes?

Prefabricated homes are houses that are built offsite and then transported to their final location. They are basically assembly line houses, usually following a modular design.

They generally cost less than the average home, and are more sustainable. Construction times are shorter as the homes are built according to a preset blueprint.

Prefabricated homes present a strong option for those looking to build a home quicker and at lower cost.

Funding the project

This means acquiring a building loan, which in contrast to a home loan, only pays out in stages rather than all at once.

But whether building or buying a house, you can employ a home loan comparison service such as ooba Home Loans to apply to multiple banks on your behalf and compare interest rates to secure you the best deal.

ooba Home Loans also offers a range of tools that can make the home building or buying process easier. Start with their Bond Calculator, then use the ooba Home Loans Bond Indicator to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

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