Is It Cheaper to Buy or Build a House?

is it cheaper to buy or build a house | CJC Law

In the face of fluctuating real estate markets, many Australians are contemplating whether buying an existing home or building a new one from scratch is more economical. The decision is influenced by a variety of factors including market conditions, personal preferences, and financial circumstances.

Initial Costs: Buying vs. Building

Buying an Existing Home

  1. Purchase Price: In Australia, the median house price can vary significantly depending on the region. For example, as of 2024, median prices in major cities might range from approximately AUD 500,000 in more affordable areas to over AUD 1 million in high-demand locales such as Sydney or Melbourne.
  2. Additional Costs:
    • Renovations and Repairs: These costs can vary widely. A minor update might cost a few thousand dollars, while significant renovations could easily run into the tens of thousands.
    • Stamp Duty: This is a government tax on property purchases and varies by state and property value, ranging from about 1.5% to over 5% of the property price.
    • Legal Fees, Inspection Fees, and Other Closing Costs: These could range from AUD 2,000 to AUD 7,000 or more.

Also read: 10 Tips on Buying Your First Investment Property in Australia

Building a New Home

  1. Land Cost: Similar to buying, this varies widely by location. For example, outer suburban lots might cost from AUD 200,000 to AUD 500,000.
  2. Construction Costs: These are currently high due to increasing material and labor costs. Building a standard home might start from AUD 1,200 to AUD 2,000 per square meter. For a 200 square-metre home, this translates to construction costs ranging from AUD 240,000 to AUD 400,000.
  3. Additional Costs:
    • Permits and Fees: Can vary by locality but often range from a few thousand to over AUD 10,000.
    • Utility Connections: If not already established, costs for water, electricity, and sewer connections may add several thousand dollars.
    • Landscaping, Driveways, and Fencing: Often not included in the initial building quote and can add AUD 20,000 or more to the total costs.

Also read: Is Buying Land a Good Investment in Australia?

Recent Trends in Queensland

In Queensland, the rising costs of construction materials and labour have significantly impacted the overall expenses involved in building a home. Recent reports suggest that these costs have increased by up to 15% in the past year alone. This makes the prospect of building a home potentially more expensive than buying an existing one in the current economic climate.

Long-Term Value and Considerations

While building a home might be initially more expensive or comparable in price to buying, it often results in a property that is more aligned with the homeowner’s needs and preferences. Newly built homes are also likely to have lower maintenance and repair costs in the near future. Additionally, building a home means everything is new and under warranty, which can save money on appliances and services in the first few years.

Conversely, buying an existing home may involve less upfront cost and the process can be completed much quicker than constructing a new build. This option allows buyers to move in immediately, as opposed to waiting for construction to be completed, which can take months or even years.

Making the Right Decision

The decision to buy or build a home is complex and depends largely on individual circumstances and preferences. Prospective homeowners should consider their long-term financial stability, the time they can commit to either buying or building process, and their personal needs for customisation in their home.

It’s essential for buyers to carefully evaluate their budget, consider the ongoing costs they are willing to undertake, and assess the real estate market in the area where they wish to reside. Consulting with real estate experts, builders, and financial advisors can provide valuable insights and help make a decision that aligns with one’s financial goals and lifestyle preferences.


Whether it is cheaper to buy or build a house varies based on many factors, including the current state of the economy, personal financial situations, and individual needs. As the market continues to evolve, especially in regions like Queensland, staying informed and seeking professional advice remains crucial.

Navigate Your Home Ownership Journey with Confidence

Are you weighing whether it’s cheaper to buy or build a house? At CJC Law, we understand that every decision in home ownership is crucial. Let our legal experts guide you through the pros and cons tailored to your financial and personal circumstances. Schedule a consultation with us today, and let’s take the first step towards making your dream home a reality. Contact CJC Law now—your partners in building your future.

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