The Expense of Constructing a Home in Canada

This blog post delves into the cost of constructing a home in Canada and the factors that influence it. Building a personalized home can be a thrilling experience, but it necessitates considerable financial preparation and resources due to inflation and other factors that have resulted in an increase in building material prices.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A House in Canada?

Several elements affect the cost of constructing a house, including land price, financing for new construction, timing, labour and construction contractors, constraints in the supply chain for imports, foreign exchange rates on imported goods, inflationary pressures, demand, construction materials, architecture and customization, building permits, fees, and applicable environmental assessments. Building costs, while dependent on various factors, increase in densely populated regions and cities due to higher labour and land costs. Contracting and customizing a house can take up to ten months or more.

Prior to analyzing precise expenditure and comparisons, it's crucial to understand the factors that can impact the overall cost of constructing a house in Canada. Cash is required to buy vacant land for your construction project, and financing choices that allow the purchase of vacant land without a purpose are relatively pricey and limited. Typically, land needs to be zoned residential, rather than agricultural, commercial, or industrial, to establish residential housing.

The purpose of zoning laws is to control land use in accordance with local planning board priorities. Effective land-use planning establishes the foundation for sustainable and prosperous communities by balancing the needs of homeowners, businesses, agriculture, recreation, and other common interests. While a title search can identify property owners, it does not provide information on zoning status.

Builders' mortgages, also known as draw or construction mortgages, assist Canadians in financing the construction of a new home. During the construction phase, the borrower frequently only requires interest payments. Construction mortgages simplify the homebuilding process. The lender funds a variety of trades that include contractor fees and purchases of supplies, and the borrower usually pays interest on funds drawn until the house is completed, at which time new financing, such as a traditional mortgage, may replace the construction mortgage.

When using a builder's mortgage to construct a new home, lenders generally require more documentation and information, and the borrower will usually be asked to provide more upfront money. However, selecting the proper builder's mortgage type allows for the financing of numerous projects that meet the individual needs of the borrower.

It's essential to remember that banks always communicate with lawyers, not contractors, in managing funds. Although fees with construction loans are typically lower, these loans necessitate higher upfront spending than conventional mortgages. However, lenders scrutinize borrower information more intensely when applying for a construction loan. Qualifying for a construction loan is usually more difficult than qualifying for a traditional mortgage, but searching through various brokers and lenders increases the chances of finding a suitable option. Construction loans are more difficult to find than conventional mortgages, but local banks, community trusts, credit unions, and cooperatives can provide additional options.

A certified land surveyor is essential to ensure proper development and reduce legal disputes before purchasing or developing a parcel of land. The surveyor will precisely identify the lot's exact boundaries, distinguishing it from neighbouring properties. The established boundaries are critical for securely and lawfully constructing any permanent structures or fences.

While conducting a land survey comes at an additional cost ranging from $1,500 to ,000 on average, it provides invaluable information and protection. The lot's size, terrain, and location, as well as a higher number of lot corners or dense tree coverage obscuring property lines, can increase costs. However, the investment in a professional land survey is worth the cost for any serious land developer or homebuilder. It guarantees a stable foundation without any encroachment concerns. Overall, obtaining an accurate land survey is an essential step for any development project.

When embarking on a building project, obtaining a building permit is an essential step that cannot be skipped. This document authorizes construction, renovations, or demolition activities in accordance with local building codes, zoning laws, and safety regulations. The building permit is typically issued by your local municipality, and the fees depend on the scope and complexity of the project. No matter whether you are building a brand new house or making modifications to an existing one, a building permit is a must-have.

In Canada, the cost of a building permit varies widely depending on the size and complexity of the project. Additional fees may apply for pre-permit services, and charges differ significantly across municipalities. It is critical to consider the length of time it takes to obtain a permit. Depending on the project's complexity and the volume of work at your local building department, this process could take anywhere from a few days to several months. Therefore, when planning your construction schedule, you must take this timeline into account to avoid extra expenses and delays.

Fees for building permits vary depending on the location, with a minimal amount shown for each region. However, additional charges may apply to add-on services or by project square footage. To determine the exact charges that apply to your project, consult with your municipality.

Designing a custom home with a good architect can lead to a unique plan that requires attention to detail and extra time. When building on sites with special challenges such as steep slopes or narrow lots, significant modifications to the design may be necessary, requiring increased engineering work, which can drive up costs and time.

Despite the additional costs and effort involved, a custom-built home can be worth the investment. Having a home tailored to your needs and style ensures uniqueness, and owning a well-built custom home can also appreciate over time, making it a wise investment for the future. It is essential to work with experienced professionals- architects and builders- who can help you navigate the process and manage costs.

Labour costs for construction differ depending on the workers' experience level and location. Bear in mind that construction costs might differ depending on the season, with peak construction seasons, usually between May and September, leading to increased demand and higher labour costs. When embarking on a construction project, contractors oversee the process from start to finish. The cost of hiring a contractor varies depending on the project's size, complexity, and contractor experience level.

In Canada, construction contractors can charge hourly rates of $50 to $150 or a flat fee ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 or more. Selecting a contractor is crucial and choosing a licensed, insured, and bonded reputable community member is critical. Before you hire, always ask for references and check their credentials.

The materials you select when building your house can have an impact that can last for several years. While higher-quality materials may cost more upfront, they are usually more durable and lead to long-lasting results. Higher-quality materials like solid wood or high-grade steel have a longer lifespan and save you money in the long run by requiring less frequent replacements and repairs. However, it is necessary to analyze the cost and quality of materials adequately to avoid overspending unnecessarily and ensure that you do not compromise structural integrity. Keep in mind that material prices might fluctuate based on supply and demand in your region, so it is wise to consider the competitive local market before making any final decisions.

To help you plan and budget for your construction project, the table below shows the average approximate prices of various construction features.

Construction/Feature Type

Average Approximate Prices




$1,200 – $1,500

Electrical System

$14,000 – $16,000

Exterior Wall Sidings 

$10,000 – $25,000

Exterior Doors

$1,000 each


$5 – $20 per square foot

Foundation & Excavation

$50,000 – ,000

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Unit

$14,000 – $17,000


,000 – $11,000


The cost of building a home in Canada varies depending on several factors. Careful consideration is necessary in areas such as the construction process, material selection, and labor cost. Materials can be costly, and builders must make decisions regarding the type of materials and the desired outcome of the project. You must also consider the cost and availability of imported materials, which can vary depending on the region.

Timing is crucial in construction projects, and selecting the right start date is essential to avoid delays and additional costs. New builds usually start during the winter, and pouring foundations should begin after the frost has thawed in late April to prevent complications. Homes should be enclosed by November 1st, with roofs and windows fitted to eliminate any moisture and water issues during the winter months.

Increased demand and inflationary pressures can make it difficult for homebuyers to find affordable options. Smaller builders, in particular, may find it challenging to maintain profit margins when contractors and suppliers increase their prices due to market conditions. Additionally, shortages of materials and labor caused by increased demand can lead to higher costs and project delays.

Construction materials costs have increased significantly due to supply chain constraints on imports. Many essential construction materials are imported, which makes them susceptible to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. Tariffs on imported goods can further increase the cost of construction materials. Therefore, it is essential to monitor economic factors carefully and find creative solutions to keep construction costs under control while meeting project deadlines.

Finally, if you plan to build on regulated land, you must obtain a special permit from an environmental conservation authority. The process of obtaining this permit can take between 3 and 6 months, depending on the area. To learn more about how conservation regulations could impact your construction project, contact the appropriate environmental authority for more information.

The TRCA and NPCA are two prominent regulatory bodies in Southern Ontario. If you value isolation and privacy, you may be interested in properties that are environmentally regulated and home to mature trees. However, if you plan to build on such land, it is important to note that construction may impact the trees on the property. To ensure that you have the necessary permits and protection plans for the trees, hire an arborist.

Whether you want to build a small or large home, the cost of construction can vary drastically depending on the city and region where you plan to build. To give you an idea, we have estimated the average cost of building homes of different sizes across various Canadian cities, using data from the 2023 Canadian Cost Guide by Altus Group.


Build a 1,000 sq.ft. home

Build a 2,000 sq.ft. home

Build a 3,000 sq. ft. home

































St. John’s




Please note that the prices mentioned are on the higher end of estimates and do not include land acquisition costs or current inflationary and labor pressures affecting the Canadian economy.

Several factors can affect the cost of building a home in Canada, including the price of land, which varies significantly across provinces. Material costs also differ, with Quebec enjoying lower prices due to its large forestry industry. Moreover, labor costs have a significant impact, with Alberta’s strong economy commanding a higher demand for skilled labor. Other factors that can add to costs include building codes and regulations, strict standards being a costly influence in Ontario. Lastly, permits and fees for construction can also differ by province; for instance, British Columbia charging more than Alberta.

To reduce your cost of materials while ensuring quality construction, one option is to buy locally sourced items instead of imported ones that can come with high shipping costs. Building a new home can be a daunting task, but understanding these cost drivers can help you budget more efficiently.

Exploring different methods of cost-effective housing solutions can help alleviate the stress and burden of building a new home in Canada. One option is to work directly with suppliers to negotiate bulk pricing and select a simple floor plan and construction design to reduce expenses. Taking the time to research and plan ahead can positively affect costs and allow you to build your dream home with confidence.

Building a home is a complex process involving various parties and factors that affect completion timeline, such as the type of house, contractor, land state, funding, and materials availability. For conventional homes, an 8-10 month timeline is standard, while custom homes typically take 16 months due to customized additions.

Building a home requires collaboration and communication between builders, contractors, city officials, designers, and suppliers. These parties need to work together to select a location, obtain mortgage approvals and permits, and maintain design plans.

Considering Canada's escalating construction costs, different alternatives, such as home remodeling or rent-to-own homes, can be more cost-effective options than building a new home. Homeowners can reduce expenses by renovating existing properties or building on smaller properties. Rent-to-own homes offer another option in which tenants can rent a home and apply portion of their rent towards the down payment of the property.

To begin building a home, one must have proper permits, which vary by province and municipality. Canadian Home Builders Association updates home building guidelines that become enshrined in law once adopted by provincial and municipal governments.

Determining the cost of building a custom home involves estimating budget, materials, contractors, and location. Building a home requires thorough preparation and research to navigate through the municipal processes and avoid seasonal delays.

In conclusion, building a custom home can be a fulfilling experience, but finding a reliable builder and architect team is crucial for success. If you're ready to start your project, contact nesto's commission-free mortgage experts who can provide valuable advice and insights on construction mortgages.

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