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Building a new home is an exciting time, letting create the space you have always dreamed of living in. But how much does a custom home cost?  In the Toronto area, the average cost for custom homes in 2023 is between $480 and $650 per square foot.

There are many things to consider when building a new home including hard costs such as materials and soft costs like engineers and architects. There are also many things known as variable costs that can change the price of a home based on supply and demand and how much you are willing to invest.

You have likely heard that the average cost of a home in the GTA is now just over $1 million. This number may seem overwhelming if you don’t understand the full scope of what it includes.

Nicks Developments can guide you through the entire building process providing expert and professional advice that will let you create the home you have always wanted while staying within your budget. That’s why homeowners in Oakville, Toronto, and Mississauga, and across the GTA trust Nicks Developments with their home building projects. Let’s check more details about building custom homes costs in Toronto.

What Affects the Cost of Building a House in Toronto?

The cost of breaking ground will be similar for many custom home builders. The bigger the house, the more it will affect the cost of building a house in Toronto for this phase. 

Creating your home’s footprint involves digging and levelling, and the size of the structure will impact your budget. In addition, the amount of digging downward required for the basement and the number of forms needed to be placed for the foundation and building footings affects costs as well.

The skeleton of your future dream home includes the walls, flooring, and the roof framing. Upon completion of the roof decking and exterior walls, a house-wrap barrier is installed. This protection will prevent moisture infiltration into these newly installed components. Once the framing is complete, the roof, all siding and exterior doors, and windows can be installed.  This is an important step to initiate before interior work commences because it waterproofs the structure.

All the mechanical components of the new house are installed in this stage. All the wires and pipes for electrical and plumbing service are put into place according to the plans and drawings. Air conditioning and heating components are installed. Depending on how many of the following and the complexity to install these features will affect costs. This includes sewers, drains, HVAC vent piping and ductwork, incoming water line connection, piping for both hot and cold-water fixtures throughout the house, and all sinks, baths, taps, showers, and toilets. Upon completion of this phase, there are three more inspections and approvals required. They are for plumbing, framing, and electrical HVAC installations. Interior finishing work can commence only once everything is approved.

Canada’s harsh climate conditions make this step especially important. Toronto has extreme hot and cold temperatures to deal with and insulation plays an essential role in helping deal with both. Insulation conserves energy use and creates the most comfortable interior living conditions. The type of insulation you install for the structure and the R-factor they achieve will affect your cost to build a house. For instance, insulation for the walls and attic can include foam board panels, fiberglass, foam mineral wool, cellulose, spray foam to a designated thickness, and insulated panels of various types.

The skeleton of your house will be covered over during this part of the process, and the rooms start to take shape. This would include taping and drywall and any textures for accents to doorways, ceilings, and walls, and fancy finishings. A primer coating of paint can be applied, upon completion of the drywall installation, afterwards the final painting with custom colours. Simultaneously, the completion of exterior work can commence, which might include any stucco, brick, or stonework remaining to be done.

The flooring you choose can also affect the overall cost to build a house. Different materials and grading will affect the cost for example, handscraped engineered hardwood typically costs more than Luxury Vinyl Tiles.

Choosing the right countertops for the different areas of your home can vary depending on the amount of material you use. This might include ceramic, granite, stone tile, porcelain, or marble, along with kitchen counters. Other cost factors to build a house include the material, grade and origin. For instance, level 3 granite imported from Spain can cost more than a grade 1 level granite.

Endless design options for cabinetry can affect the cost of your custom home. You can choose to create custom walk-in closets, built-in tv media units, a home office and more. The more detailed the millwork is, the greater the expense.

At this stage in the Toronto home building process, the house can be converted with all the finishes into its final visible form. The interior of your future home takes shape with the installation of cabinets, baseboards, mouldings, stairs and banisters, door casings, windowsills, interior doors, mantels over fireplaces, and any other decorative trim.

At this stage, the house is just about ready for occupation. Material fixtures such as switches, heating and air conditioning equipment, outlets, light fixtures, and electrical panels are all installed. In kitchens and bathrooms, faucets, toilets, and sinks are installed, as well as shower doors and mirrors.

Typically, this task is carried out towards the end of constructing a custom home to prevent any damage caused by vehicles and equipment during the construction process. The total costs are influenced by factors like size, labor, and materials.

Once the grading is completed and a suitable water drainage system away from the house is in place, you can start working on the exterior landscaping. The overall cost of landscaping can be affected by both the quantity and quality of the landscaping items you choose, which can include trees, shrubs, grass (sod), and any other features of your landscaping design.

Breaking Down the Costs of Building Your Custom Home in Ontario

The chart below outlines the estimated percentage of the different components affecting the overall cost of building a custom home.

Components of Building a Custom HomePercentage (%) of the Overall Cost of Building a Custom Home
Foundation, Excavation, Framing, Footings, Rough Exterior, Finish Exterior, Roof (including eaves, fascia, soffit)40-45%
Windows and Doors 10-15%
Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC – rough and finish 10-15%
Insulation, Paint, Drywall10-15%
Interior Doors, Counters, Cabinets10%
Deck, Railings 5%

Though the above information should only serve as a very rough guide, you can see that the majority of the costs to build a house in Ontario are allocated to components that are unavoidable when building any type of house. However, there are some variables that affect costs more than others. For example, installing a metal roof can cost almost 3 times the cost that traditional asphalt shingles would. Additionally, implementing smart technologies in HVAC and electrical systems and opting for insulation upgrades to increase R-factors and energy efficiency can be costly, and fixture upgrades can double or triple the average cost of interior doors or lighting depending on the materials used.

Detailed Breakdown of Costs based on a 2,000 sqft Custom Home

The team at Nicks Developments has provided a detailed breakdown of costs based on a 2,000 square foot custom home in Ontario using the average cost of low-end design choices and build materials. For more information about the costs of your home build in Toronto, contact us for a free quote.

CategoryAverage Budget %Starting Cost
Footings / foundation4%$32,000.00
Roofing Cover6%$48,000.00
Doors / Windows9%$72,000.00
Soffit / Facia / Eaves3%$24,000.00
Rough in Electrical3%$24,000.00
Rough in Plumbing3%$24,000.00
Rough in Heating4%$32,000.00
Basement Floor2%$16,000.00
Insulation / vapor barrier5%$40,000.00
Heating Equipment2%$16,000.00
Paint / prime4%$32,000.00
Interior doors / casing3%$24,000.00
Cabinets / counters4%$32,000.00
Finish Electrical2%$16,000.00
Finish plumbing2%$16,000.00
Decks and railings4%$32,000.00

It’s important to note there are many factors that affect totals. This is just an average cost of building the house only, this does not include elements such as fill materials, engineering, septic, landscaping, hook up to utilities, and other factors. The actual build can see costs much higher or much lower.

Soft Costs For A New Custom Home Build

Costs For A New Custom Home Build

A home is more than just bricks and mortar. There are many steps before the shovel goes into the ground. Before construction begins, you will be expected to conduct a survey, do a zoning review, and provide an environmental report to ensure that the location of your home is up to local building standards.

All these steps are called soft costs and should be included in your budget when you are planning your new home.

The next step in pre-construction is putting together design plans and renderings that will help you visualize the completed home. This will require the consultation of architectural designers who will develop a rendering of the exterior of your home. Next, interior designers will bring together the details and finishes you want with an interior design rendering.

This is a fun and exciting part of bringing your vision to life allowing you to make changes and adjustments to improve the functionality of your home with the click of a mouse.

Custom Home Blueprint by Nicks Developments
Amazing Home with Custom Backyard - Home Renovation Company

Once you have decided on a plan, structural and mechanical engineers work out the construction elements to ensure your home meets all guidelines and building codes. They also ensure that all the technical specifications are in line.

Finally, it’s time to decide on landscaping, which will require an arborist report. This will outline the right trees and landscape based on your climate and will ensure no invasive species are being used in your design.

The total of your soft costs should run between $30,000 and $50,000.

Custom Home Construction Hard Costs

Costs associated with the physical construction of your home are the hard costs. These include any demolition and excavation at the start of your project.

Now it’s time to get building. The cost of custom home construction varies based on the size and style of the home you choose to build. Based on the average home size of 3,000 square feet, you can expect to pay:

Finished Custom Home Construction
Modern Home Renovations Burlington
  • $220 per square feet for a low end or modest home.
  • $250 per square for a classic two-story home.
  • $275 per square foot for a modern/more upscale home.
  • $300 for a luxury custom home build outside the City of Toronto (Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill area).

If you are looking to build a log or timber frame home such as a cottage or guest house, you can expect to pay $270 per square foot.

Other Custom Home Expenses

When budgeting for your new home, it’s important to remember all the interior design elements like appliances and bathroom fixtures. Most homeowners can expect to pay $18,000 to $50,000 depending on the level of luxury they want to add to their project.

Nick’s Developments can help you find the right appliances and fixtures for your home that fit into the design and style you want to achieve without going over your budget.

Custom Kitchen in Amazing Home Toronto
Permit Fees for Custom Home

Always remember to factor in any building and permit fees that may be required by your municipality. Homeowners may also be expected to pay:

  • Land Transfer Tax
  • Disconnection and reconnection fees for hydro, water, and sewer
  • Landscaping fees to remove any trees that may interfere with construction or safety
  • Final inspection fees
  • Real Estate and Legal Fees

How to Save on Building a Custom Home

Building a custom home in Toronto can be quite the expensive undertaking. There are ways however to save on the investment. For starters, consider your location. Choosing to build in the busy city as opposed to a much quieter, rural area will cost more. Secondly, consider your materials.

A prefabricated, also known as “prefab” or “modular” home are often less costly by a significant margin than a “stock-build” home because they are easier and faster for contractors to build.

modern custom home

Next, consider the size of the home you are looking to build. Ask yourself: Do I really need a 3,000 sq. ft. home, or can I live more minimally? Do I want a finished basement? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need? Another way to save money is to not do everything at once.

Even if you do want a basement, you can always save the renovation for later in the future when you’ve had a chance to rebuild your finances. Lastly, always remember to not skimp out on labour. Find the best professionals you can, they are building your home after all!

Remember, cost of goods are always changing and as such, you should allow for an increase or decrease in the cost of your project of approximately 10 percent.

Nick’s Developments are committed to keeping our clients informed about any changes or adjustments to their custom home build project so there are never any surprises.

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Contact Us Today for A Free Consultation.