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Build New or Buy an Existing Home?

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New Construction vs Existing Home

While NH real estate sales rose from April to May by 3.7%, year-to-date, they are down 1.2%. The reality is there are just not enough homes on the market for the number of buyers looking to make purchases and that’s a serious problem.  The most desirable homes, the ones that are selling, tend to be smaller, and more affordable, slowing the median increase.

According to the New Hampshire Board of Realtors, A continuing decline in housing inventory pushed up the median cost of buying an existing single-family home in NH to $300,000 in May 2019 - 5.4% higher than May 2018. For the average 1,500-square-foot home built before the 1960s, that comes to about $200 per square foot. That said, the exact price can vary widely based on your geographic location.

According to Liam Cargill of Cargill Construction, the latest figures show that the cost to build new construction will set you back an average of $300 per square foot. That puts a 1,500 square foot home at about $450,000, $150,000 higher than the median price of an existing home.  

The price you pay for construction costs versus an existing home is only the beginning, there’s many other factors to be considered. The biggest advantage to new construction is building the amount of square feet you want along with the layout that best suits your current and future needs. You’re paying for the things that YOU want as opposed to buying an existing home that may have features you have no use for such as a basketball court, finished basement, in-law apartment or other extras.

With existing homes, unless you’ve purchased your perfect dream house in excellent condition, you may still want to update countertops, flooring and even the floor plan. According to Pamela Greene, Designer for Cargill Construction, just replacing kitchen countertops and cabinets can run as high as $10,000 - $25,000.  When all is said and done you may have spent as much on new construction as you did with any after-closing rehab.  With new construction, your interior and exterior maintenance outlay for a decade is potentially zero dollars. That can make up for some home construction costs per square foot that you paid by opting for a custom home.

Existing homes with older construction mean dated windows and appliances equating to dollars flying out the window on wasted energy expense.  "Recent construction almost always beats older homes in energy efficiency", says Kyle Alfriend of the Alfriend Real Estate Group Re/Max, in Ohio. According to, "homes built after 2000 consume on average 21% less energy for heating than older homes, mainly because of their increased efficiency of heating equipment and building materials. This translates into reduced energy expense every month, even with the higher square footage in many newer homes."

There’s limited existing housing inventory currently on the market, new construction could be the answer for you!

Are you interested in building a new home? Here’s some land currently listed with Alpine Lakes Real Estate call us today! Campton (603) 745-4580 or Lincoln (603) 745-3601.

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