Is It Really More Expensive to Build a New House in New Zealand?

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When we talk about looking around for a home builder in New Zealand, one of the crucial things most people ask is the “price per square meter” quote from each potential builder. Unluckily, often, that is not a good indicator of the real cost to build a house.

One company may provide a cheap square-meter-price, but they may not have presented comprehensive details around what would be needed to finish the building, rendering the figure nearly irrelevant and surely not a real reflection of the cost to build.

Where housing businesses will market a square-meter-price of, say, NZ$2,800, you often discover later that that is a floor-up quote. That means it doesn’t include things such as earthworks, drainage, and foundations.

What are the minimum costs of building a house in New Zealand?

For the past twelve months, the property market in New Zealand has run crazy hot. Auckland stays in the top spot for median prices, but many other regions are on their tail. Further, there have been some massive year-on-year increases.

Nationally, the median house price is NZ$810,000, up to 19.1 percent.

So, how have things changed, have prices for creating new homes increased as much as prices for existing homes? The answer to that is yes, and no.

Nationally speaking, the average price per meter squared has risen from NZ$2,238 (2020) to NZ$2,428 (2021). That is an increase of 8.5 percent—a far smaller percentage than the increase in median house prices.

Nonetheless, the average cost of a new build has lowered: from NZ$428,791 in 2020 to NZ$378,307 this 2021. That’s because there has been a marked reduction in the sizes of the homes that were consented from the national average of 192 meters squared last year to only 155 meters squared this year.

How Long Does It Take to Build a New House?

Reports from across the country quote between ten to twelve months to build a home. That involves the initial planning and consent procedures, the build itself, and the final Code of Compliance and selling of the current property. The build alone normally takes between five to six months.

Nonetheless, you will find a set of factors that can influence the building process, which involves:

  • building during the holiday season: add at least four weeks to your timeline
  • amount of land to clear
  • the number of easements needed or involved
  • the slope of the site: the steeper the area, the costlier it is to build on
  • number of stories
  • weather
  • the type of build (custom-built homes take a lot longer to build than prefabricated ones or homes designed off a pre-set plan

What are the Costs of Building a New Home?

The cost of building a new home differs from one region to another. Bear in mind that the estimates are often based on averages and can differ based on various factors like:

  • Population demographics – New Zealand has less than five million residents. How many people are tradesmen and skilled artisans? How many of those skilled construction experts are close to your region or even accessible during the timeframe of your build?
  • Availability and sourcing of the building materials – The home builder you work with often have access to a network of reasonable suppliers. Purchasing raw materials directly off the market or importing them from other nations on your own will surely cost you more.
  • Building code, compliance, and tax requirements – Council regulations can’t be prevented, even though they can be mitigated if you’re seeking a 30 square meter of smaller homes.
  • The scale of the build – How large do you like your home to be? How many rooms do you require? Are there unique features in the layout that would need craftsmen for the construction?
  • Geography – Home construction in New Zealand has requirements. For instance, a more reinforced steel framework is utilized for concrete labs, and that’s because of seismic activity in the terrain.

Prime costs items are features like doorknobs, tapware, and tiles that you haven’t picked yet. A sum is allocated for those. Meanwhile, provisional cost (PC) items are materials or features with unknown costs. That might be because the builder has not noticed the site you plan to build on, or they require your input to fix the price better.

You will often notice PC items in the price of the following:

  • council fees
  • kitchen
  • connection to water and power
  • site drainage
  • earthworks and foundations

Why Do Other Home Designs are Much Expensive than Others?

Two houses might have the same floor area, but every homeowner’s choice of materials and design can substantially influence the final cost of every home.

For instance, homes with mono-pitched roofs need more exterior cladding on the external walls, not to mention their trusses are more expensive too. In all, it’s a costlier design to create than a standard hip roof house.

Likewise, houses with additional storage areas are costlier to create. With every cupboard designed from a set of components, like door handles, doors, painting, plastering, framing, and shelving, the more you have, the greater the price.

If you are considering a new build, it is worth understanding how much the following home design aspects will impact the cost of your home:

  • roof pitch and style
  • amount of structural support needed
  • window area
  • interior wall area
  • amount and type of exterior cladding

What Should You Focus on First When Picking a Home Design?

Deciding on the home design that you love begins with a list—a list of why. Understand why you are building new. Is it for less or more space? Better comfort or for a home that better fits your lifestyle? Answering such questions must help uncover what your requirements are, both on a family level or as an individual.

After you have your list of needs down, you can then begin thinking about the physical elements of the house itself.

  • Position and orientation – Look at all your selection and consider how your home will be oriented to the sun, how you might place it on your section to enjoy any views and how its orientation and position may influence privacy.
  • Floor plan – There’s more to evaluating a floor plan than checking it has the proper number of bathrooms and rooms. Further, consider the size, storage, accessibility, indoor to outdoor flow, and interior flow.
    When picking the size of your rooms, make sure you measure up any existing furniture that will move in along with you and consider where you’ll place it in your new home.
  • Details – After you have considered the site position of your home as well as the floor plan, begin to look at different style-related aspects, like how big your windows will be, the type of roof you will have, and the cladding you will use.

Can a Builder Raise the Contract Price?

Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a few quote prices to change throughout the course of a new home build in New Zealand. That is normally because of the following:

  • the homeowner picking features outside the provisional sum allowances of the contract
  • an increase in labor costs
  • an increase in material costs
  • changes to the new build plans
  • unforeseen earthworks

To minimize the risk, you might opt to negotiate your contract to have any price increases capped. Nonetheless, remember that most builders are often hesitant to do that. In some cases, and depending on the contract, a builder might also charge you penalty costs if your payments are late.

Final Thoughts

As your home building activity advances, so will your development and material costs. Further, any modifications you make to your home build plans can push construction costs up and postpone the time frame.

You might end up paying more than what was initially estimated if there are many unforeseen challenges and changes along the way. It’s essential that you have a home builder who has your back and keeps the cost within the range of your target budget as much as possible.

There is where Reber Build comes to the rescue. Reber Build is a dependable and trustworthy home builder that can offer you sage advice whenever you make critical decisions and how these decisions can impact your construction costs.

We take pride in our decades of home building expertise and local knowledge to make sure your custom home gets built on time and within your financial means. Furthermore, a licensed building practitioner like our team will work with you in executing the construction and design requirements of your home. Everything that’s required from permits, applications, materials source, and working with the right trades will be handled by us.

We hope you find this content informative and engaging at the same time. If you’re looking to build a new home, get in touch with Reber World today at 0210-267-3768 or send an email at Feel free to visit our website at to find out more about our services.


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