Most people assume that building a custom home is an expensive undertaking. With careful planning and execution though, building a custom home doesn't have to break your budget, and it can in fact can be an excellent investment for many years to come. In this post, we'll answer that important question we get asked so frequently; how much does it cost to build a custom home in Oakville, Mississauga, or Toronto? We’ll start by explaining what’s considered to be a custom home, the key factors that will influence the cost of building a custom home, sharing some important tips to help you save on unnecessary costs during the custom home building process, as well as some upcoming cost trends for custom homes in the Greater Toronto Area
Whether you're looking to build your forever home, or invest in a speculative build for the market, this post will give you a good starting point for understanding the costs associated with custom home building in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area.
A custom home is a marked departure from the “cookie-cutter” housing design that is widely available on the market. In contrast to your typical subdivision home, custom homes are designed and built according to a client’s exact specifications. Every inch of space is designed to fit the homeowner's specific needs, with consideration for the site location (including transportation links, access to local amenities etc.), as well as unique features and space requirements that should be incorporated.
Besides the unique site locations, custom homes are known for their bespoke floor plans, layouts, and highly personalized designs that might be complex to build, but critical for functionality. With a custom home, clients can ensure that their family’s needs are met with attention to style, comfort and unique details. In addition, our clients have found that this type of living provides a heightened feeling of ownership, allowing you to customize and create your personal living spaces exactly the way you’ve envisioned them!
Building a custom comes with a host of many other benefits- one of which is giving you the availability to address future needs for your home. You can easily factor any future needs into the construction of the home, or you design and build in a manner so that can easily add these features in the future (for example, adding enough space for a future Master Suite on the main floor, or adding plumbing to key basement areas for a future In-Law suite or Secondary Kitchen).
In addition to the benefits that come with complete home personalization, a reputable and professional custom home builder will also provide a higher quality service throughout the process. You’ll have the ability to work closely with them on the design and execution of your custom home build, and to provide constant input and feedback throughout the process.
If you’re looking for a home that is completely unique to you and your needs, and suited to your unique lifestyle, then building a custom home is certainly the way to go.
By hiring a reputable and professional custom home builder, you will ensure that your home is built to the highest standards, without compromising on quality, efficiency, your budget and your timelines.
The cost of a custom home is affected by several factors, ranging from the size and complexity of the project to the building processes, materials and finishes that are used. Among the most notable factors that will influence the cost of building a custom home are the following:
The Size of Your Home:
The bigger the size of the custom home you are looking to build, the more materials and labor will be required to complete the build. As a result, the cost of building a custom home will increase with each additional floor, and square footage added. Comparatively, the smaller the square footage and interior volume of the home, typically the lower the cost will be. This may not always be the case though, as a bungalow with a large footprint can sometimes be more costly to build than a 2-storey home with a smaller footprint (consider the costs associated with building a larger concrete foundation and slabs, exterior walls or additional framing and roofing materials for example).
Location is another factor that can significantly influence the total construction costs, depending on where you want to build your home. For example, building in a Downtown Toronto neighborhood such as Summerhill or Forest Hill may be more expensive than a less densely populated area in Mississauga such as Lorne Park or Mineola. This is due in part to the increased pricing of materials and labour, as well as the specific site restrictions that come with building in a more densely populated neighborhood. It’s important to note though, that the opposite could also be true in some cases, for example, if you need to include a septic or well system instead of connecting to existing services.
When considering the cost of a typical building lot, the prices may be general, however the specific location and site you select for your build will certainly impact the overall budget. For example, if the lot you are considering is heavily-wooded, there will be additional expenses to clear and prep the lot before you can build. Or if you’re building a custom home in Swansea, or the Kingsway, on a beautiful lot that backs onto a ravine- these builds will certainly have more site restrictions, and thus be more costly, than building a custom home on a larger lot in West Oakville.
Depth of Excavation and Lot Requirements:
As we touched upon above, depending on the nature of your building site and its existing terrain, it's quite common for excavation work to level out the land, and help create a stable foundation. This process can significantly contribute to the cost of your custom home construction, as deeper excavation will typically require more equipment, labour and disposal costs that will need to be factored in. If your specified building lot is significantly sloped, has poor soil conditions, or if there are drainage issues present, these are all important elements that need to be factored into your overall budget.
The more complex your design is, you will typically find the higher the costs will be. This could include intricate shapes of exterior walls, multiple levels, or any other unique features that aren't part of typical construction. The more specialized materials and labor required, the more expensive each individual component will be.
It is important to note, the design of your custom home will be critical to the cost of the build. We encourage prospective clients to bring their builder into the project as soon as possible, even if you’re in the early stages of planning and haven’t secured a lot yet. Having an experienced and reputable builder like Odera, in your corner from the beginning, will ensure that you select the best possible lot for your build. With our team’s years of experience and in-depth knowledge of custom home building, we can find many creative solutions to ensure you get the final results you want, with value-engineered solutions to ensure you get the custom home build of your dreams, with recommendations for material substitutions and process efficiencies, to ensure that even the most complex of designs won’t take your build over-budget,
When you’re building a Custom Home in Southern Ontario, you definitely want to keep energy efficiency top of mind, and ensure that your builder is using the most energy-efficient materials, and best industry standards that are available.
This typically involves incorporating materials that reduce heat loss and make it easier to cool or heat your home. Such materials may include improved insulation, high-efficiency windows and doors, and other advanced heating and cooling systems, like geothermal energy. These materials and systems might cost a little more upfront, but they will definitely save you on costs in the long run, and will ensure that your custom home provides you with improved air quality, lower utility costs, a higher resale value and comfort, for many years to come.
Build and Material Quality:
The quality of the materials used for the construction and finishing of a custom home, will also significantly impact overall costs. Generally speaking, higher-quality materials and finishes will cost more than basic materials; however, these higher-quality materials will often last much longer, and require fewer repairs or replacement in the future. That said, the materials used for your construction project will depend on what types of features you want to include in your custom home. Some important considerations for materials and features often include:
• Exterior Windows, Skylights and Doors (We always recommend options with the highest energy efficiency ratings that are available)
• Exterior Finishing (Stucco, Brick, or Natural Stone for example, will all affect the overall budget)
• Interior Finishes (this includes everything from the type of flooring, to the light fixtures, and everything in between!)
• Plumbing and HVAC equipment (Standard heating and cooling systems, vs. In-floor Radiant Heating, or Geothermal Energy)
• Custom Luxury Finishes (Including Custom Millwork, Lighting, Custom Furniture etc.)
• Landscaping and Exterior Features (Decks, Hardscaping, Pergolas, Outdoor Pools, Heated Driveway and Walkways etc.)
Time of the Year of Build:
Southern Ontario is well-known for our cold and snowy winters, especially near the Lake in Oakville, Mississauga and Burlington. The Winter season can make things a little more difficult to build, but we don’t let the weather slow us down! Depending on your timeline and when you plan to start building your home, you do have to consider the cost increases and potential project delays that are associated with winter construction vs. summer construction.
The best possible schedule we recommend to our clients is to plan well in advance, and with all of your financing secured and permits in hand, for us to break ground as soon as possible in early-Spring, build through the Spring and Summer months, and have you moved into your new home before the winter sets in. This timeline will certainly depend on the size and complexity of the project, but in this ideal scenario, we have finished a custom home build in about 8 months.
Our team has significant experience breaking ground in the winter as well, and working on custom home builds that start throughout the year, in all season weather. However if there are budget constraints present, then we highly recommend that you plan for the best case scenario, and to break ground as early as possible in early-Spring!
The short and simple answer to this question is, it really depends.The cost of building a custom home in either Toronto, Oakville or Mississauga will vary depending on the size of the home, the existing site conditions, complexity or simplicity of design features, as well as the level of finishes. You have also got to factor in elements like exterior features, such as landscaping, decks and hardscaping, swimming pools or other exterior features.
We typically don’t provide a cost per square foot, as these numbers can vary significantly depending on the specifics of each project. If a builder is providing you with a standard square foot number, how can you know for certain what exactly is included in that cost? The reality is that building a custom home will require a customized price structure, as no two custom homes are the same (they wouldn’t be called custom homes if they were!).
We’ve often heard of unsuspecting clients hiring a builder because they promised a “below-market” cost per square foot, but then realized down the road that all of the specifics of their project were all considered “extras”, and they ended up going way over-budget to get their build completed. To get an accurate estimate for your custom home, you will need a finalized plan on what you’d like to build. The team at Odera, would be more than glad to provide you with a detailed, and itemized budget for your custom home build, and we will spend the time required to ensure you are completely educated on the entire estimating process.
With that said, having an approximate price per square foot cost is still helpful, especially if you are in the initial planning phases of your custom home project, and you’d like to get a better idea of the costs involved:
What we can say from our custom home building experience, is that the average custom home prices in Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto have recently ranged anywhere from $275 to $550 per square foot for the construction of the home. The cost of constructing a custom home in Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto will also largely depend on the size, complexity, and design of the custom home, and any specific materials and labor required.
In order to get a more accurate estimate of the cost required for your custom home, and to ensure that your build stays within budget, it’s essential to speak with a custom home building expert, who will take the time to explain the processes and walk you through each step of the way of your project. Our team at Odera Construction would be more than glad to provide you with a detailed, and itemized breakdown of an estimate for your build, to share our experience and expertise with you, and to answer any questions you may have about the custom home building process in Oakville, Mississauga, or Toronto.
Having a good budget that allows for contingencies and unexpected costs is essential for ensuring that your project does not encounter additional financial strain during the building process.
Keeping your budget on track for your custom home build can be a major commitment, but with a sensible budgeting plan for your build in place, and the right team handling your custom home build, it is easily achievable.
Before you sign and move ahead with a specific builder, always be sure to get multiple quotes and bids for your custom home project. Through this process you can easily determine who the best builder for your project will be, and the more builders you meet with, the more information you’ll have and better equipped you’ll be when you’re ready to start.
Keep in mind that a builder who will take the time to meet with you, answer all of your questions and address your concerns, who communicates well and that you have a good rapport with, all without having to spend your first dollar, is definitely a builder with green flags. A builder that doesn’t want to educate you on the process, answer your questions or address your concerns, provide you with information, or is impatient, rude or dismissive, is a builder with red flags (and in the event that you do get stuck with a builder like this, the process doesn’t get any better once your build is underway unfortunately!).
When you hire a builder who will respect your budget, your preferences, and who will keep you well informed through the process (like the team at Odera!), you can ensure that your dream custom home is delivered under budget, and on schedule. Furthermore, by hiring the right builder before the first shovel breaks ground, you will ensure that the entire process will actually be an enjoyable and headache-free experience, and one that you will remember fondly as you grow into your new custom home.
As Ontario's housing market shifts and mortgage rates and lending regulations continue to change in the next few years, these conditions will likely affect the cost trends of building custom homes. In particular, land, labor, and materials prices could change as the industry adjusts to accommodate these changes. As Southern Ontario becomes more urbanized, the cost of building custom homes is expected to increase still, with past metrics showing an increase of 10-15% in pricing as demand for these types of properties continues to increase.
The costs we’ve noted are meant to be a general guide, and reflect current market trends. WIth the volatility of the Greater Toronto Area’s real estate market, as well as the recent fluctuations in the construction supply chain, building costs in Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto have increased quite a bit over the past two years.
It is important to keep in mind that an experienced builder will have the most current information available to share with you. During these times it’s more important than ever to hire a reputable, and experienced builder that has their own longstanding supply, labour and trades relationships, so that your custom home build is executed seamlessly, and without any costly delays.
When all is said and done, the cost of constructing a custom home in Oakville, Mississauga, or Toronto can vary greatly depending on the house's size, complexity, and design. Therefore, it is essential to consider all factors when budgeting for your project, including materials, labor, and contingencies for any additional costs that may arise during construction. Additionally, it is beneficial to speak with professionals and consider all of your financing options to ensure your project remains within your desired budget. Rest assured, with the right planning and team on your side, it is possible to maintain a tight budget, and still build the custom home of your dreams, without breaking the bank.
Make sure you spend time researching the best builder for your project, and take the time to talk with your builder throughout the planning and pre-construction process. A good builder will walk you through the entire building process, from your property lines and setbacks to the final kitchen cabinet hardware selections. This will give you a better understanding of the costs associated and what to expect. At a minimum of $275 per square foot, a 3,000 sq ft can cost you over 700,000 in hard construction costs, before you consider land, financing, upgrades and so on. Once you have an idea of the costs involved, then be sure to review your budget, and make sure you review all of the details that matter the most to you with your builder so that you can get a detailed cost breakdown, before you break ground.
The financial burdens that clients must carry is not something to take lightly. Building a custom home is a significant investment, and it is essential for clients to trust their builder to execute on their vision. If you are looking for a builder who will deliver your project on-time, on-budget, while keeping your best interests in mind, that you certainly have to choose a custom home builder that you trust- with your project, but also with your investment, concerns, and your vision.
At Odera Construction, our team prides itself on upholding the highest standards of integrity, maintaining clear and open communication with our clients, and building relationships on transparency, honesty and trust, in order to deliver the best possible custom home build for our clients.
Our mindful approach to the custom home building process is what makes us unique. We’ve committed to always putting our clients first, as it is their project, and it will be their home after all. Our goal is to put our clients at the center of the project management process- we are there every step of the way to ensure you are making educated choices, and will empower you with the ability to see, understand and approve all related expenses.
Our team serves Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Etobicoke, Toronto and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with our team, Contact Us today; we would certainly be more than glad to assist you- whatever stage of the custom home building process you might find yourself in!
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Article by Selman Nasir, Founder of Odera Construction Group