The first point in discussing the average cost to build a luxury home is that by definition, construction cost and size have nothing to do with defining true luxury. While many of those builders who would claim the title of ‘luxury home builder’ believe that a luxury home is defined as a home of over 5000-square-feet, made with extravagant materials. The top luxury home builders disagree, referring to these homes as mansions. They insist that the true definition of a luxury home is a home of architectural significance, uniqueness, superior design, comfort and a great location. A luxury home simply cannot be a tract home that looks similar to its neighbors, no matter how much it costs.
We do not normally consider the cost of the lot as part of the cost per square footage of the home, but buying a lot in a great location is going to be a significant investment. Choices might include mountaintop, oceanfront, riverside, lakefront or big city penthouse. Certain fabulous neighborhoods such as those found in Hollywood, Martha’s Vineyard or New York also qualify. Country Club districts in most towns qualify as at least marginally luxurious locations. In some areas proximity to a major golf course can be considered a luxury lot. If all of this sounds expensive, it is. One alternative would be to purchase a tract of rural acreage with a pond or stream, and create your own beautifully landscaped setting.
True luxury lots are expensive, anywhere in the United States. If you want a true luxury home, half a million dollars is a small price to pay for a lot. Ocean Front Lots in Florida start at around $400,000. Lakefront lots in the South East start at $125,000 and some exceed $500,000. Lots surrounding Anthem Country Club in Las Vegas range from $400,000 (for 1/3 of an acre) to over $1,000,000.
A true luxury home must be designed by an exceptional architect. You will need to hire a successful, innovative, and experienced architect of the caliber required to create a home of true architectural significance. Expect to pay 12 to 20 percent of the total construction cost in architectural fees.
A True Luxury home is defined by the level of comfort uniqueness and beauty it affords, more than mere cost of materials. Still genuine marble countertops, elaborate bathrooms, expensive flooring and a stone fireplace seem to be necessary elements of the total package. Luxury homes range in price per-square-foot from $175 to $800 per square foot. That is quite a range, but it just varies that much, probably due to the different definitions and degrees of luxury involved, and the differences in costs from one area to another. $250 to $300 is an average cost per square foot that seems to typify most areas.
Even though for a while, a luxury home was in part defined by its size, recent trends are to build smaller luxury homes, because wasting all that energy in heating and cooling, is not politically correct anymore. Homes in excess of 5000 square-foot are now considered overly pretentious. It has been discussed among top architects that size doesn’t matter. It is possible to create a tiny 500 square-foot luxury home. Since a luxury home is defined as comfortable, the question is how large should the house be in order to provide comfort to your family and guests? Do you really need eight bedrooms, or five baths? Consider your lifestyle and decide how many bedrooms you need, and the size of your dining room. Too much space can be uncomfortable too.
Our conclusion is that in order to build a true luxury home, the cost of the lot alone would be about a million dollars. Average construction costs would be $300 per square-foot, making a 3000 square-foot home cost about $900,000 and a 5000 square-foot home cost $1,500,000. The architect fees could be up to $300,000. So the average cost to build a luxury home could be approximately 2.2 million to 2.8 million at the average cost per-square-foot, if you include the lot. In some areas the average cost to build a luxury home could be twice that amount, or more.