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Land wild card in home building costs

February 6, 2019

The hard construction costs to build new homes are not much different from coast-to-coast but land values can drive costs hundreds of thousands of dollars higher in Vancouver or Toronto, according to the 2018 Construction Cost Guide from Altus Group.
In the high-density, multi-family development, for example, the hard construction costs to build a 12-storey condo tower in Vancouver is from $200 to $280 per square foot, and it has a range of from $185 to $260 in Calgary; $185 to $265 in Greater Toronto and $165 to $235 per square foot in Montreal.
But, in Metro Vancouver, the land costs add about $325 per square foot buildable to construction costs, while it is around $45 in Calgary, $225 per square foot buildable in Toronto and less than $100 per square foot buildable in Montreal.
For example, a 100,000-square foot new condo project would require around $35 million in land costs in Vancouver, compared to $4.5 million in Calgary, $22.5 million in Toronto and less than $10 million in Montreal.
Altus Group explains that its survey of hard construction costs does not include the so-called soft costs, which include land, any civic or legal costs, marketing, financing and any developer profit.
The annual survey, released January 30, reveals that the cost to build a basic detached house with an unfinished basement has a  range of from a low of $90 to $150 per square foot in Halifax to a range of $140 to $250 per square foot in Vancouver. It is in the $115 to $145 range in Alberta’s two big cities and up to $215 per square foot in Greater Toronto.



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