The Impossible Question About Building a New Custom Home on LBI

cost per square foot to build a custom home on lbi

Almost every inquiry we get as a custom builder on Long Beach Island includes the age-old question, “How much per square foot does is cost to build a new custom home on LBI?”. The answer to this question is actually impossible to provide. There are many reasons why, especially when you are building a custom home. Every single home is different, and there are many products, materials, and design factors that affect a home’s price per square foot. Here’s the real answer to the impossible question about building a new custom home on LBI.

Elements That Add Cost, Not Square Footage

No matter what kind of home you are building, certain elements in the construction add cost, but don’t add square footage. As a result, the price per square foot increases. One of those elements is architecture. Design elements like odd shapes, curves, or anything requiring structure to build that are designed into your home, the higher the cost. At the same time, these elements don’t increase your square footage. Design features like eyebrow windows, turrets, and decorative design details like moldings are good examples.

Exterior Structures & Materials

Most of the homes we build on Long Beach Island, particularly on the oceanfront or bay, are designed to maximize the views. This means lots of windows, glass panels, and glass doors in all the right places.  Houses designed with a lot of glass and windows will have an increased cost per square foot. Other costly additions to a custom home on LBI are decks. Decks are another amazing feature to have, but they do not add square footage. They can be costly depending on the materials. In addition, roof decks can add significant cost, and again do not add to your overall square footage. There is a lot that needs to go into the structure and construction to include a roof deck. Another high material cost is in the type of siding, which can add significantly to the cost per square foot calculation.

Let’s Move Inside

Interior features provide comfort, convenience, and elegance. Some areas of your new custom home can add cost more than others, like the kitchen and baths. Even squeezing in an extra bath into your home’s design won’t necessarily increase the square footage, but there are costs involved in the plumbing, tile, and finishes that add to the cost per square foot. In general, everything you will select for the interior of your home like flooring, plumbing fixtures, paint, etc. will vary depending on your tastes, choices, and budget. All of these selections will affect the cost per square foot.

As you can see, there are too many variables for each custom home on LBI that is built to be able to answer the question of cost per square foot. Even the lot size can come into play, as your home size may be limited by the space you have to build it on. Smaller homes tend to run higher in cost per square foot than larger homes, which have more square footage to divide the costs by. There are even many “hidden” costs that affect the cost per square foot such as curbs & sidewalks, clean fill, recharge pits, retaining walls, length of pilings, and bulkhead/CAFRA costs.  Our advice to anyone being quoted a solid cost per square foot is to be wary. No custom home builder on LBI can quote a home buyer that number with certainty. If they do, you are most likely not being given the ability to build a truly custom home. The moral of this story is that you do not want to compromise on the design, features, or materials for your new custom home in order to fit into the idea of the cost per square foot. With our level of knowledge and experience the past two decades of building custom homes on and around Long Beach Island, we prefer to work with our homebuyers to provide a design, cost estimate, and guidance on the best materials and features that work for your family’s new home. Contact us today for details about building a new custom home on Long Beach Island.


  1. Bob on September 26, 2021 at 8:44 am

    you should at least give a range. This would make this post significantly more helpful

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