How much is new construction in Raleigh/Durham?

12 Replies

Hi all! I'm looking at a house in Durham that's going to need an addition, probably 600 sq. ft. What does it typically cost per sq. ft. for new construction/addition in Durham? ARV should be in the mid 200's. Thanks!

Jill, that is too open ended.  Depends on will it be a 2 story or 1 story, brick or vinyl or hardie plank, hardwood floors, etc.  i look at what new houses are going for and take that square foot price as starting point and figure the cost of the land in the new home will make up for the higher percent cost on an addition. hope this helps

Thanks Mike, I figured that might have been to vague.  There are actually 2 areas on the house I'm looking at:

1. 700 Sq. Ft. attic conversion to 2nd story with addition of new shed dormers to accommodate the footprint.  I wouldn't tear the whole roof off, just work with the pitch that's already there.  That would need to include a new 14' run of stairs.  I'm thinking wood shakes for the siding, there wouldn't be as much area to cover as a typical 2nd story addition.  It would house 2 bedrooms, a bath and a loft.   Carpet, tile, and wood respectively and probably need about 7 windows.

2.  There's a really crappy 400 sq. ft. addition on the back of the house that needs to be ripped off and rebuilt completely.  There would be existing foundation for the new construction to sit on, but otherwise it would need to be totally new, we'd either match the existing wood siding or go with shakes on the rebuild.  The new space would be used as the kitchen, so either tile or wood floors.

I'll try your suggestion of reverse engineering the price on a new build, that's a great idea, thanks!

Hey Jill! Best bet is to get somebody out there to look at it. There can be so many different variables. I know there are much more experienced people than me at numbers like that and can tell you about what it would cost at their desk. I am not that good yet. :) I know that doesn't help any, but mostly just wanted to connect after the last meet up in Raleigh. Good luck!

I'd be concerned about the second story load. A Durham building inspector, if they are anything like Garner of Fuquay, would be helpful in pointing out areas where you may have inspection issues. I assume 1) this alteration is over $25K and a Level 2 alteration (vs. Level 3 -Reconstruction), 2) you are permitted (have or will get alteration permits,) 3) you are acting as the GC and have your trades (electric, mechanical, plumbing for the kitchen changes) identified. Other concerns: foundation integrity, A/C sizing, others unknown without more information.

Know your local permit restrictions too. For an alteration we did in Garner, the permit explicitly said "ALTERATIONS ONLY, NO EXPANSION." Identified as a non-conforming structure, the town added "CAN ONLY BE REPAIRED/MAINTAINED UP TO 15% OF CURRENT ASSESSED VALUE IN ANY CONSECUTIVE 12 MONTH PERIOD." On a positive note, they let us have one complimentary inspection prior to permits, and one (called Consultation on the inspection card, no extra fee) when
we ran into a framing load issue that existed in 1954 when the building was made. In one room the builder used 14' framing members (partially sistered) to span a 16' load. When a laborer was in the attic removing the obsolete chimney, cracks showed up everywhere... we eventually tore out all the living room ceilings and (per Consultation) put in new 16' 2x10s to support the load.

I would guess you are in the $75 per sf range.  Like @Chris Martin pointed out most of the major areas of concerns.   I would carry a 25% contingency for the project unknowns.   The bedroom windows will need to be emergency egress size per code.  They require 5.7 sq of net open area.  Kitchens and bathrooms are expensive areas.  I would bet you have to replace your hvac system due the volume increase or provide supplemental system.   I would give a quick all the local building dept and talk with them on what you want to do and see what hurdles they want you to jump through and meet.  If the attic is already a "walkable attic" style then you may already have adequate structure but I would double check.  Some of the cost will depend on finish quality leve (high end vs low end) l as well.

Thanks so much everybody, there are a number of things I did not know to consider.  I will Definitely call the City to make sure I can alter the structure to begin with and it can be permitted to expand.  

Chris, it never even dawned on me that a city would restrict the repair value, that's wild.  Was it in an area that had some kind of special protections, or is this a city-wide Garner thing?  Also, I'm sure this is an ignorant newbie question, but what are the Levels of alteration you are talking about (2 vs. 3?)  And do you know where I can find information about those definitions and their requirements?


The point of my post is that Durham may have some restrictions that you won't find in building code. I don't know why the Garner permit was written the way it was, but it's better to know the restrictions going in rather than find out after you acquire the property.

Awesome, thanks for the link to the building code!  

I called the City of Durham and asked about any restrictions regarding building additions to residential structures and he said as long as I wasn't increasing the footprint there weren't any restrictions per se but that I should just send the drawings into the City and see if they approve them.  Not exactly reassuring... 

Already on it Adam, and yes it I a generous offer - thanks Art!  Are either of you planning on attending the TREIA meeting tonight?  I'll be there, so hopefully I'll see you both.  -Jill