Quality of New Construction Homes – 6 Classes of Single Family Homes in the United States – Standard Specifications
Architectural specifications will determine whether your new construction design is a luxury house, standard house or cheap house. An architect will help you choose the right materials for your budget.
Six houses in a specific Zip Code, city or state may have the same gross floor area, but the building cost per square foot will vary depending on the material specifications for that house. As shown in this construction material cost list, the cost of building elements such as walls, floors, finishes and roof cover depends on the type of material used. Some materials are more expensive than others, for example terrazzo screeds and mosaic tiles are more expensive than porcelain tiles and hardwood floors. Porcelain tiles and hardwood floors are more expensive than vinyl tiles. The same material will have its own cost range which depends on the quality, thus you will have material specifications ranging from low to high quality. Low quality brands are the cheapest, while high quality brands are the most expensive. As an example, carpet brands like Karastan, Masland and Fabrica are more expensive than Bliss, Mohawk and Shaw.
Local municipalities and town planning authorities have a zoning system for residential homes and other types of buildings. The neighbourhoods in a city are divided into income groups where specific standards of developments are required. As an example, in Zone A or Location A, homeowners will be required to build homes within a specific cost range, say $200,000 to $300,000. In Zone B, the expected value of developments might be $100,000 to $200,000. In Zone C, the location might be reserved for low-cost houses under $100,000.
Building specifications go hand in hand with zoning requirements. Thus, you can’t build a $65,000 home in a high class or upper middle class suburb. The inconsistencies will reduce the market value of that location. The quality of developments in an affluent suburb has to be maintained if the location is to retain its home resale market value.
The value of residential quality classes also depends on the median income and affordability of new construction homes in that location. The consumer cost of living (which also includes the cost of labour and materials) varies greatly by city and state. Thus, you will find that a $185,000 home in Kentucky may be valued at $600,000 in New York or Washington DC.
The following are types of residences graded by expected quality specifications.
Class 1 – Luxury House
When referring to the building alone, a luxury residence is one with high quality material specifications for more than 90% of its elements which makes it more costly than a best standard house. This is the quality of materials used for the floor, walls, internal wall finishes, ceilings and roof, as well as internal fixtures, sanitary fittings and amenities. Due to its highly customized and exclusive requirements, this type of house is designed by a professional architect.
Class 2 – Semi Luxury House
A semi-luxury home is a partly customized home which features luxury upgrades for a few or more of its elements (about 50% or less) which makes it more expensive than a best standard house. This type of house is built from existing architectural templates and designs (stock plans) which are partly altered or enhanced with interior upgrades to achieve some luxury. In such cases, upgrades are usually made to ceilings, internal fittings, lighting and HVAC installations.
Class 3 – Best Standard Single Family House
This is the highest quality home that you can get among stock plan architectural templates. It is built by property developers in a community whereby all houses might look more or less the same in style and configuration. This is the type of house that would be a best residence for upper middle income earners. There is a mix of mid-range and high quality materials in the house for elements like the floor, walls, finishes, roof and internal fittings. This house is also roomier than class 4, 5 and 6 residences.
Class 4 – Good Standard Single Family House
This house is quite affordable. Just like the Best Standard and Minimum Standard House, it’s a pre-designed home with readily available architectural stock plans that you can buy online from a home designer or architectural firm. Mid-quality materials are specified for this residential building to reduce the cost. If you visit a middle income suburban location in the USA, you will probably see rows of houses with a similar style, separated by wide streets.
Class 5 – Average Standard Single Family Home
This house has a mixture of mid-grade and low quality materials for its walls, floors, finishes and roof. It’s very affordable for people who can’t afford a good standard house. Property developers may build this type of house for mass housing as a turn-key solution, pre-designed and built, ready for occupation.
Class 6 – Minimum Standard Single Family Home
The minimum standard house will be suitable for low income earners in the lower class. The shell or superstructure will be of standard quality, but the floor and wall finishes, including the roof cover will be on the cheap side. You will save a lot of money by moving in this type of house. If you want a decent house with minimum standards, this is a house to buy. At least, this should be your first house when you are trying to find a home and do away with renting.
In conclusion, factors affecting the quality class of a house and its price are:
- Type of materials used
- State/city zoning requirements
- Building specifications
- Median income in that city or state
- Cost of living index in that state or city
- Cost of labour in that city or state