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How much does it cost to build a house in Nanaimo?

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Ballard Fine Homes
December 6, 2023
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Are you sick and tired of shelling out thousands of dollars only to have to spend more to make it look half-decent? Building a custom home is a great option to consider, but how much does it cost? There are several factors to consider when landing on a firm price, so we will dive into what some of those costs look like. But first, should you buy or build?

This article was originally published on August 9, 2023. Due to its popularity, we have since expanded it, offering you even more valuable information about buying a home in Nanaimo.

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Nanaimo average house prices – buy or build?

Should you buy a home in Nanaimo or build it from scratch? The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for.

Many homes in Nanaimo were built a considerable time ago, meaning quite a few have needed extensive renovations over the years. It takes a lot of work to upkeep a property and sometimes these older ones come with repairs and renovations that can be very costly, such as rewiring or re-plumbing a home. For that reason, it could be more cost-effective to build a simple home.

On the other hand, there have been several new developments in the city. Purchasing a new home is entirely possible, but it will come at a cost. Real estate prices on Vancouver Island have been steadily increasing, so these new homes are likely to cost quite a bit. The average price of a home in Nanaimo runs around $700 000 to $800 000 at the writing of this article, for example. (Update as of October 2023, the average benchmark price has changed to $802,500)

The compromise between affordability and having a new home means building your own custom home. In this way, you can make it as lavish or frugal as you’d like. As you are the one to design the home, you won’t have to worry about planning for a renovation only a few years down the road because it’ll be just the way you want it already.

For many people, building a custom home is a great option. So, what goes into it?

3321 Klanawa Crescent kitchen view from living area

Factors that affect the cost to build a house

There are quite a few things to consider when refining your budget for building a home. Below are some things to consider for your checklist, but it is also highly recommended that you talk to a professional builder, such as those at Ballard Fine Homes. Through a conversation, we can help give you a more accurate estimate of what the current prices are for various factors.

But for now, here are a few factors to be aware of:

  • The location of the property. How much is your land going to cost? Did you buy land on a small island near Nanaimo? Transportation costs for materials might cost more.
  • How large the size of the home will be
  • How elaborate of a house design do you want to have? Generally, simpler is a more frugal option.
  • The quality and choice of materials and finishes. Are you installing budget-friendly flooring or high-end marble?
  • Contractor fees
  • Cost per square foot for various contractors, materials, and supply chain.

In Nanaimo, a custom home usually costs between $500 000 to upwards of $2 million depending on these factors. Something like a tiny home will cost far less than a three-storey, waterfront mansion with numerous bedrooms and bathrooms. For this reason, it is misleading to set a firm price on how much it costs per square foot to build a home. Personal taste, budgets, and other factors all are taken into account when determining how much a custom home costs to build.

To see where you fit on the spectrum, reach out to Don Ballard and his team for a chat about what you’d like to have. We offer personalized consultations and can give you a much better idea of what your dream home will cost after we talk to you about your wants and needs, and show you other homes we have build in the past as examples.

If you’re only here for the numbers, WOWA reports the price per square foot to build a house runs between $90 – $260, with the higher range being reported in Vancouver. But like we said, there are many factors to consider so it is best to talk with us at Ballard Fine Homes for a transparent, honest look at your home-building goals.

A gorgeous bathroom seen in one of Ballard Fine Homes' show homes.

Ballard Fine Homes Offers Flexibilty and Customization

Even if you haven’t considered building a custom home, hear us out.

Real estate prices are going up everywhere. Many people are looking for that perfect home, so the demand for higher priced homes is equally as high. With how hectic life can get, people aren’t as excited about fixer-uppers as they once were, but they don’t want to give up that customization that makes the process that much more enjoyable. Building a brand-new custom home is the perfect solution.

Custom homes offer flexibility, customization, and control. Instead of making an offer and crossing your fingers that the seller will accept your offer, you can build your own dream home. In this way, you can control how much you want to spend, what customization options you want, and make your own decisions on what to be flexible about.

We understand that although it sounds great, sometimes the more options you have, the more overwhelming and difficult it can be to make a decision. That’s why we are here to help. Our in-person showroom in Parksville is an opportunity for you to see what finishes we have available, with samples of how they can come together.

With Ballard Fine Homes, you are in control of how your space looks. Our Custom Features page goes through each room with a suggested list of items you can choose to include in your build. We stand by our motto, “Dream building is what we do” so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your dream home.

Are there any hidden costs related to house building?

When working with a reputable building company, there should never be any hidden costs. Sometimes, unexpected costs do come up but that is rare and a surprise to both the buyer and the contractor. Transparency and trust are essential components for a successful client relationship, which Don Ballard and his team take quite seriously.

Instead of thinking about hidden costs, consider some costs that may not come to mind right away.

Other factors to consider:
1. Does your property require any special permits? Sometimes protected land can influence what you can or cannot do. Local building codes, permit fees, and regulatory requirements can impact construction costs. Compliance with specific regulations may necessitate additional design or construction elements, adding to the overall expenses.
2. If your home is far from the road, you may need to have a utility company put in new lines to connect your home to the grid. For example, extending water, electricity, or sewer lines, can increase expenses.
3. Does the land need to be landscaped before building? For example, is there a steep slope that will need to be levelled, or is the soil stable enough to support a home?
Seismic activity in the region means that homes may require additional construction measures, such as reinforced structures or specialized materials.

Wife and husband paying utility bill online

Utility Costs

How much does it cost to get BC Hydro hooked up? What about your internet?

Here’s a quick rundown:

BC Hydro: Nanaimo is in Rate Zone 1. New service ranges between $1000 – $3000 depending on how many amps and if you are getting overhead or underground connections.

Natural Gas: Fortis charges about $800.

Internet: This varies a lot depending on how close you are to a current setup. The property owner will need to contact these companies for a more accurate quote: Telus, Shaw, and Starlink (around $800).

Drilling for a well: Best case scenario is $10 000, but it can be upwards of $30 000 or more depending if you find water or not. Note that if you are located in the city, you will be connected to the municipal line instead.

Septic (outside of Nanaimo): $10 000 – $20 000 Inside the city, you will likely be hooked up to the city sewage system.

Connecting to the city sewage system: The Regional District is asking property owners to reach out for a quote.

At Ballard Fine Homes, we take into account these types of costs (and others) to be as transparent and accurate as possible for our clients. This shortlist is meant as a ballpark idea of what these things could cost for someone that has no idea about the subject. Our team provides up-to-date information for all of our clients.

Waterfront at Nanaimo, BC

What is it like to live in Nanaimo?

If you’ve landed here, it means you may have an interest in purchasing a home in Nanaimo or nearby on Vancouver Island. We have already covered plenty of Vancouver Island lifestyle articles – pros and cons, things to do, that sort of thing.

To find out what it is like to live in Nanaimo, Parksville, or the Comox Valley, check out our list below. There are a couple more Nanaimo-related articles, plus a few neighbouring towns we don’t want you to miss out on.

Moving to Nanaimo – what you need to know.

The Ultimate List of Things To Do in Nanaimo

Pros and Cons of Living on Vancouver Island

Pros and Cons for living in Courtenay, BC

Pros and Cons for living in Comox, BC

Pros and Cons for moving to Parksville, BC

Pros and cons for moving to a small community like French Creek

Perks and considerations for living on a lake or near the ocean

Your Nanaimo Home Builders

Are you looking for flexibility and control over your new home? Avoid the headaches, and build your home from the ground up with the help and expertise of Ballard Fine Homes.

We will walk you through the process to make building a home an enjoyable experience you won’t regret. Our clients have reported us as a professional building company with high attention to detail and exceptional customer service.

Ready to take the next step? We are only a call away to get your dreams realized into something truly special. Questions are always welcome!