Building Costs Per Square Metre in South Africa – How Much is a New Luxury, Middle Class, Standard and Low-Cost Home? How Much Does It Cost to Build a Mansion or Villa?
Skilled and Unskilled Labour Costs in South Africa – Construction Trades
Factors Affecting the Cost of Building in any Location
Homes for the Poor Class in South Africa
Homes for the Middle Class in South Africa
Homes for the Upper Middle Class in South Africa
Homes for the Upper Class in South Africa
Homes for the Elite Class in South Africa
Building Costs Per Square Metre in South Africa For Poor Class, Middle Class, Upper Class and Elite Class – AECOM Report
Building costs in South Africa vary by province, city and suburb. The construction index is a factor that measures monthly changes (increase or decrease) in the price of construction materials, labour and equipment in a specific location. The building material price index also known as the Construction Input Price Index (CIPI) measures the material cost, and according to STATSSA, construction material costs in South Africa have risen from 115.7 in February 2020 to 123.4 in February 2021, which is a percentage increase of 6.7%. There has been a steady rise in the CIPI for the past four years if you take into account the fact that the CIPI was 113.4 in December of 2018 and 114.8 in December of 2019 respectively.
Skilled and Unskilled Labour Costs – Construction Trades
From 2012 to 2019, hourly wage rates have increased by about 56.91% for unskilled labourers, and 75.49% for artisans. In 2019, the minimum hourly rates for Area A increased up to R21.20 per hour for labourers, R22.92 for general workers, R25.22 for class 4 builder’s worker and learner, R33.56 for class 1 builder’s worker and learner. Artisans (painters, carpet floor layers, water-proofers and crane operators) are now earning R36.92 per hour, and a minimum of R40.61 per hour for artisans in other trades.
In January 2019, the national minimum wage was set at R20.00 per hour. It was increased to R20.76 per hour in February 2020. In February 2021, the national minimum wage was increased to R21.69 per hour, which was a 4% increase from the previous rate.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Building in any Location
The building cost per square for any house or building is derived from the gross floor area of the building as defined by the ASAQS Guide To Elemental Cost Estimating as well as the contract sum of construction obtained from past projects of a similar nature and scope. Homes of a similar nature and scope are those with comparable architectural and material specifications. The architectural design as well as the material specifications will determine the overall cost of building a house. The local municipalities or town/city councils have zoning laws which prescribe the minimum valuation of homes that can be built in a specific location or suburb. Thus, according to town planning laws, you cannot build a house anywhere you like. The residential dwelling has to meet prescribed minimum architectural standards and valuation amount to maintain the market value of the suburb. That is why we have locations for low-cost housing (less than R600,000) in locations such as Berea, Yeoville, Central Pretoria in Gauteng Province. Khayelitsha, Delft, Tafelsig, Kalksteenfontein, Maitland, Blue Downs in Western Cape Province, Bloemfontein, Willows in Free State Province, and Mdantsane, Bethelsdorp, Algoa Park and Motherwell in Eastern Cape Province. In these areas, the cheapest low-cost house that you can build is RDP Housing which will cost you something like R130,000. The best low-cost house in terms of quality that you can have is a Standard House which will cost you something like R584,000. Somewhere in the middle is the Economic House which may cost you something like R348,000 to R472,000.
Homes for the Middle Class in South Africa
Middle class homes (R600,000 to R1,200,00) are found in locations like Lampiesbaai, Mountainside, West Bank,Buhrein,Royal Ascot, Bardale Village, Mitchells Plain Central, Northpine, Plumstead, Parklands and New Woodlands in the Western Cape Province.
In Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, middle class housing is found in suburbs like Ormonde View,Lenasia Extension, Newlands, Melville, Winchester Hills, Corlett Gardens,Albertville, South Hills, La Rochelle, Bassonia, Alveda, Lenasia South and Killarney.
In the Province of KwaZulu Natal, middle class houses are found in suburbs like Sea Park, New Germany, Margate, Austerville, Amanzimtoti, Ashley, North Beach, Uvongo, Scottsville Extension, Cotswold, Woodlands, Montclair, Riyadh, Essenwood and Hayfields.
In the Free State, middle class residences are found in suburbs like Parys, Hillside View, Jan Cillierspark, Sasolburg Extension, Pellissier, Riebeeckstad, Navalsig, Mandela View, Heuwelsig, Hilton and Langenhovenpark.
Homes for the Upper Middle Class in South Africa
The upper middle class may prefer homes in the R1,200,000 to R2,500,000 range in Western Cape suburbs like Onverwacht, Sunningdale, Windsor Park, Nuutgevonden, Goodwood Estate, Island View, De Velde, Castleton, Meiringspark, Strand North, Tygerfalls, Golden Mile and Parklands.
In Johannesburg, similar homes for the upper middle class are found in Broadacres,Oakdene, Glenvista, Bruma, Melrose North, Kensington, Westdene, Lombardy East, Oaklands, Rosebank, Malvern, Crosby, Mondeor, Linmeyer and Bassonia.
In KwaZulu Natal, upper middle class homes are situated in locations like Port Edward, Pennington, Essenwood, Wartburg, Central Westville, Woodview, Arboretum, Glen Park, Kildare and Thompson Bay.
In the Free State, upper middle class residences are located in Shellyvale,Fleurdal, Vaalpark, Harvard Crest, Brandwag, Pellissier and Helicon Heights.
Homes for the Upper Class in South Africa
The wealthy and rich, also known as the upper class or high income class would love to stay in affluent homes set in prime or remote locations which may have larger real estate with beautiful views and scenery. This is a type of exclusive house starting from R2,500,000 to R4,000,000. Big industrial and commercial properties are usually worth this much, including vacant land and farms in affluent rural locations.
Upper class and luxury homes in the Western Cape are more expensive than similar homes in other provinces of South Africa. Such homes are found in locations like Mouille Point, Aurora, La Concorde, Fernkloof, Stellenbosch Central, Strand North, Seaforth, Constantia, Avalon Estate, Diaz Beach, Vermont, Plumstead, Blue Lagoon, Dennegeur, Hannasbaai, Seapoint, Thesen Islands, Franskraal, Beachfront, Franschhoek, Saldanha Heights, Witstand, Sandbaai, Albertinia, Mount Royale Golf Estate, La Roche, Gordons Bay Village,Pezula Golf Estate, Rondebosch, Jongensfontein, Strand South, Reebok, Hout Bay Central, Paryskloof Estate, Century City, Dana Bay, Pinehurst, Flamingo Vlei, Simons Town Central, Lynn’s View, Table View, Hout Bay Central, Sagewood, Welgelegen, Helena Heights, Woodbridge Island, Vierlanden, Universiteitsoord and Harbour Island.
In Johannesburg, upper class homes for the rich are found in Glen Vista, Parktown North, Oaklands, Riviera, Ridgeway,Craighill Park, Parktown North, Parkhurst, Melrose, Carlswald, Bassonia Rock, Auckland Park, Kensington, Rosebank, Greenside, Bassonia, The Gardens, Glenhazel, Mulbarton, Parkwood, Parkview, Dunkeld West, Carlswald, Franklin Roosevelt Park and Eltonhill.
In KwaZulu Natal, upper class homes for the rich are found in Bluff, Plantations Estate, Ramsgate, Nottingham Road, Southbroom, Hillcrest Central, Morningside, Durban North, Kindlewood Estate, Kloof, Essenwood, Banners Rest, Hilton Central, Glen Anil, Everton, Westville Central, Assagay, Gowrie Village, Sunningdale, Palm Lake Estate, Dawncliffe, Crestholme, Emberton Estate, Zululami Coastal Estate, Sheffield Beach, Palm Lake Estates, Deepdale, Langford Country Estate, Freeland Park, Mount Edgecombe, Sheffield Beach, Ballito, Brighton Beach, Winston Park, Cowies Hill, Montcalm Estate, Thompson Bay,Elaleni Coastal Forest, Oak Park, Gillitts, Zimbali Coastal Resort, Dawncliffe, Reservoir Hills, Margate and Deepdene.
Homes for the Elite Class in South Africa
In terms of wealth, the elite class are the richest people in South Africa. We are talking about tycoons, business moguls and other personalities of high net worth. This client can afford to build a mansion, villa or lifestyle home of an ultra-luxurious, complex and exceptional quality. The mansion and real estate on which the mansions are located are of mega-size proportions and scope, characterized by large expanses of land, breathtaking architectural design and exclusive quality of materials which are usually imported overseas. Mansions for the elite exude opulence, style and grandeur. In coastal and remote areas, they are usually built at strategic elevations to provide a beautiful panoramic view of the outside scene. It is safe to say you can find this type of home starting from R5,000,000 and above. Prices are as high as R15,000,000, with extraordinary villas and mansions in the R25,000,000 to R85,000,000 range and record breaking homes reaching up to R260 million. Prime locations for building an opulent home have the most expensive real estate, which may be slightly higher or lower than the value of your home.
In the Western Cape, opulent homes for the mega-rich are found in locations like Fresnaye, Bantry Bay, Mouille Point, Tulbagh Rural, Shelley Point, Dana Bay (Mossel Bay), Sagewood, Upper Claremont, Century City, Melkbossstrand Central, Berg En Dal, Klein Slangkop, Sea Point, Olive Grove, Pezula Golf Estate, Mariana Da Gama, Hout Bay Central, Steenberg Golf Estate, Villiersdorp, Strand North, Philadelphia, Baviaanskloof Estate, Klein Berlyn, Myoli Beach, Camps Bay, Pinelands, Paarl Central, Mossel Bay Golf Estate, Pinnacle Point Golf Estate, Somerset West, Rondebosch, Jacobsbaai, Loevenstein, Stillbaai Oos, Graanendal, Eastcliff, Tierboskloof, Overkloof, Pearl Valley (Paarl), Baronetcy Estate, Helderberg (Stellenbosch), Franschhoek, Plettenberg Bay, Constantia, Clifton, Durbanville, Llandudno, Bishopscourt, V&A Waterfront and Tokai.
Some of the Exceptional Mansions in the Western Cape Region:
In the Province of Gauteng and City of Johannesburg, affluent homes for those with an ultra-high net worth are found in locations like Blue Hills Equestrian Estate, Carlswald Estate, Cornwall Hill, Raslouw, Sandton Central, Eye of Africa Estate, Blue Saddle Ranches, Bedfordview, Midstream Estate, Bryanston, Meyersdal, Kyalami Estate, Southdowns Estate, Sinoville, Sandhurst, Rietondale, Oaklands, Morningside Manor, Northcliff, Copperleaf Estate, Waterkloof, Waterkloof Ridge, Magaliesskruin, Dainfern Golf Estate, Centurion Golf Estate, Mooikloof Heights, Constantia Kloof, Bronkhorstbaai, Craighall Park, Northcliff, Beyers Park, Vanderbijlpark, Brooklyn, Claudius, Rietvlei View Country Estates, The Hills Game Reserve Estate, Zwavelpoort, Featherbrooke Estate, Craighall Park, Three Rivers, Chartwell, Serengeti Lifestyle Estate, Ruimsig, Hyde Park, Bedford Gardens, Olympus, Waterfall Country Village, Douglasdale, Melrose Estate, Muckleneuk, Dainfern Valley Estate and North Riding.
In the Province of KwaZulu Natal, mega homes for the super-rich are found in locations like Salt Rock, Hilton Rural, Brettenwood Coastal Estate, Ramsgate, Zimbali Coastal Resort, Meer En See, Shelley Beach, Umhlanga Rocks, Tinley Manor, Athlone Park, Izinga Ridge, Point Waterfront, Umdloti Beach, Umhlanga Ridge, Mount Edgecombe Country Estate, Southport, Point Waterfront, Umdloti Beach, Garlington Estate, Musgrave, Herrwood Park, Ballito Central, Simbithi Eco Estate, Olso Beach, Hawaan Forest Estate, Tinley Manor, Marburg, Seaton Estate, Pennington, North Beach, Karkloof Estate, Westbrook, Stanger Rural, Cowies Hill, Sheffield Beach, La Lucia, Bothas Hill, New Town Centre, St Lucia, La Mercy, Montrose, Waterfall, San Lameer, La Lucia Ridge, Durban North, Cathkin Park, Herrwood Park, Westville Central, Point Waterfront, Willard Beach, Southbroom, Kloof and Port Zimbali.
Building Costs Per Square Metre in South Africa – AECOM 2020/2021 Report
AECOM is an American global firm that provides consulting and project management services in a wide range of engineering and construction fields. One of the firm’s specializations is construction cost management and quantity surveying, and thus they have a great deal of experience in managing building projects around the world including Africa in countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Botswana. In 2010, AECOM acquired Davis Langdon, one of the biggest construction cost management and quantity surveying firms in the UK, which had a presence in many regions around the world including South Africa. Davis Langdon was acquired for a sum of USD$324 million, of which 80% was liquid cash and the remaining percentage was in the form of investor stock. This is not the first business that AECOM has acquired, but the company has bought several other firms like Tishman Construction Corp (USD$245 million), bringing its acquisition spree to USD$1 billion. AECOM has about 87,000 people in its employ and has a presence it at least 150 countries. AECOM has secured 15 EPCM contracts worth USD$30 million in South Africa for the development and upgrade of infrastructure in three regions.
Following a typical customized Elemental Estimate, the building costs per square metre provided by AECOM do not include the cost of land, municipality servicing of land, loose furniture, existing infrastructure, parking, allowance for escalation, interest costs, Professional Fees and VAT.
Building Costs Per Square Metre for Residential Buildings:
So the question you have been waiting for, what is the building cost per square for building a mansion, exclusive house, luxury home, middle class house, standard home, economic and low-cost house in South Africa?
The self-explanatory tables and charts below show you how much it will cost to build a house or private dwelling in South Africa:
Low-Cost Housing for the Poor – Construction Costs
The low-income group in South Africa, those earning less than R55,000 per annum would be fine with a 45m2 or 50m2 RDP house at R2,500 per square metre, and those with a little more money to spare wouldn’t mind settling for a low-cost house at R3,200 per square metre.
Affordable Housing for the Low Emerging Middle Class – Construction Costs
The emerging low middle class, those earning R55,000 to R152,000 per annum would find an Economic Private Dwelling at R5,900 per square metre more affordable.
Affordable Housing for the Emerging Middle Class – Construction Costs
The emerging middle class, those earning R152,000 to R364,000 per annum, will be able to afford a Standard Private Dwelling at R7,300 per square metre. Alternatively, they are also well placed to secure a mortgage loan to buy a newly built apartment in a simple low-rise apartment block at R7,700 per square metre or an economic duplex townhouse at R7,700 per square metre.
Affordable Housing for the Realized Middle Class – Construction Costs
The realized middle class, those earning R364,000 to R631,120 per annum, are comfortably placed to build or buy a newly-built Middle Class Private Dwelling in secure communities.
Homes for the Upper Middle Class – Construction Costs
The upper middle class are those earning R631,121 to R863,906 per annum. They have the financial muscle and more disposable income to buy a newly-built Luxury Private Home at R12,300 per square metre, as well as a unit in a Prestige Apartment Block at R15,000 per square metre.
Homes for the Upper Class, the Rich and Wealthy – Construction Costs
The upper class are an emerging affluent class, earning R863,907 to R1,329,844 per annum. They can afford Prestige Private Dwellings and Condominiums in prime locations, built at R15,000 to R19,500 per square metre.
Homes for the Elite Affluent Class, (Tycoons and Multi-Millionaires) – Construction Costs
Members of the elite affluent class (tycoons and multi-millionaires) are those earning over R1,329,844 a year, preferably at least twice this amount. These South Africans are usually business moguls or personalities of high net worth owning multiple properties and huge investment portfolios. They are comfortably placed to build an Exclusive Private Home at a minimum rate of R19,500 per square metre. They can afford to build Exceptional Lifestyle Homes at R28,500 per square metre and higher.
The Charts above show that RDP Housing is the cheapest to build in South Africa, followed by Low-Cost Housing. Exceptional Homes for the elite class are the most expensive to build. The Table shows that the cost of building an Exceptional Homes can be as high as R59,000 per square metre.
Retirement Centres – Construction Costs
These are residential homes specially built for retired individuals with large savings in their bank account. A retired individual can choose to live in a private dwelling, apartment block, community centre or frail care facility. Middle class private dwellings are the most affordable retirement home, starting at R8,700 per square metre, followed by a middle class apartment at R8,900 per square metre. A Luxury Home in a community centre is the most expensive, starting at R17,100 per square metre, followed by a Luxury Apartment and home in a Frail Care Centre which will cost you R13,800 per m2.
Generally, a home in a newly built Community Centre is more expensive than a home in an Apartment Block and Private Dwelling.
Retirement homes in the Standard and Economic Class should be much cheaper than Middle Class.
Building Costs Per Square For External Works (Residential):
In a private dwelling or home, eternal works are structures like car parking, carports, garage, swimming pool, tennis court, fencing, pergolas, gazebos, koi ponds and barbeque areas.
A shaded single carport that can accommodate one vehicle, will be built at R4,700 per square meter. A shaded double carport for two vehicles will cost R9,500 per m2 to build.
A covered carport is the most expensive, costing R7,400 per m2 for building a single carport, and R14,500 per m2 to build a double carport.
The cost of building a swimming pool is based on its volume. Swimming pools with a volumetric capacity of 50 kilolitres or less will take a provisional sum of R93,000 to build. Those between 50 kilolitres and 100 kilolitres will take a provisional sum of R165,000 to build.
The provisional sum for building a residential tennis court of standard quality is R550,000. Building a tennis court complete with flood lighting will cost you R680,000.
Building Costs Per Square For Commercial, Office and Industrial Buildings:
The AECOM Cost Report evaluates two kinds of office buildings in South Africa, an Office Park and Office Tower block. An office park is usually a horizontal development, built like a shopping mall with rental space on the first or ground floor. An office tower is a vertical development with multiple storeys which can be accessed by a lift.
A low-rise office park of standard quality will cost the property developer R8,500 to R10,400 per square metre to build. A low-rise office park of prestigious quality will take R10,900 to R16,200 per square meter to build.
A high-rise office tower block of standard quality will attract a construction cost of R12,200 to R16,200 per m2. A high-rise office tower block of prestigious quality will attract a building cost rate of R16,200 to R20,400 per m2.
Retail and Shopping Space:
AECOM has six types of shopping centres in its South Africa Cost Report. These are the local, neighbourhood, community and three types of regional centres. A local shopping mall also known as a convenience centre is often built to serve a village or suburb. Building a local convenience shopping mall takes R8,300 to R10,900 per m2.
A neighbourhood shopping centre is often built at a strategic location to serve a few suburbs or villages which are in close proximity. Building a neighbourhood shopping mall will attract R9,000 to R11,600 per m2 in development costs.
A community shopping centre is built in an ideal location with a high density of shoppers and commuters in transit. The CBD and its outskirts are examples of locations. This type of shopping mall usually serves a metropolitan area or city. It takes R9,900 to R12,700 per m2 to build a community shopping mall.
The fourth type of shopping centre in South Africa is a regional centre. Regional shopping malls are huge and they are built to serve an entire city as well as satellite towns in the province. Building a minor regional shopping mall starts from R10,900 per m2, with R13,500 per m2 being the maximum. The cost range for building a much bigger regional shopping centre is R11,600 to R14,000 per m2.
The biggest regional shopping centre that property developers and investors can build in South Africa is a super shopping complex. An example of these super shopping malls are the Fourways Shopping Centre and Sandton Retail Centre in Johannesburg. The Canal Walk and Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre in Cape Town. The Gateway Theatre in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. The Menlyn Park in Pretoria. The Mall of Africa in Midrand. These type of malls will not only serve the province, but they also serve the nation as well as being an international attraction. It takes R12,200 to R15,800 per m2 to build super shopping malls.
Industrial and Warehouse Space:
Industrial buildings and warehouses designed by certified architects and engineers will include private staff offices, kitchens, toilets and changing rooms which are often built to higher quality specifications than workers’ ablution facilities and canteens. However, the industrial building/factory where manufacturing is done and the warehouse where raw materials and finished goods are stored, will make use of low-cost wall cladding and roofing. The structure is usually made of steel framing (portal frames) on which metal sheet cladding is fixed with bolts. The steel portal frame can have brick dado walls up to 1,000mm high or brickwalls spanning the floor-ceiling height if money is available.
A Light Duty steel-framed industrial building with steel cladding and galvanized steel roof will cost R4,100 to R6,200 per square meter to build.
A Heavy Duty steel-framed industrial building with full-height brickwalls and galvanised steel roof will cost R4,800 to R6,900 per square metre to build.
The cost of building staff offices, toilets and changing rooms on an industrial plant, factory or warehouse is R7,800 to R10,000 per square m2.
All the building cost unit rates in this article exclude VAT, the cost of land, municipality servicing of land, loose furniture, existing infrastructure, parking, allowance for escalation, interest costs and Professional Fees.