How much does it cost to build a custom home in Adelaide


Some of the most common enquiries we get sound something like this:

  • How much for a double-storey 4 bedroom home?
  • How much for a 270sqm home?
  • How much do you charge to build a normal home?
  • How much … (you get the idea).

While most project builders will show you a catalogue of floor plans with a starting from price, as a custom home builder the closest we can get to providing you with cost information during our initial contact and without being grossly misleading, is by referring to the building price of our past projects.

And yet, by providing you with the building price of that exact home you saw in our video walk-through, we cannot help but still be slightly misleading. Here is why.

The problem with our past projects price

As a custom home builder, we take pride in the individuality of each home we build for a handful of Adelaide families each year. A lot of time and energy goes into each one of them and the end result is our clients’ happiness.

But for you to use these homes in determining your budget a few issues arise.

  1. Footing Cost

Did you know that the starting-from prices on project design brochures are often advertised without the footing cost? The logic goes that they are providing you with just the cost of the house. So long as they teach your house how to levitate, surely you can budget based on that starting-from price!

In reality, footing cost can be a big part of the total cost to build. Much depends on the soil test results, as well as the levels of your block.

  1. Inclusions & Irrelevant Upgrades

While it may look nice, that shiny porch facade will cost upwards of $500 per square metre surface (Hallo Alucobond!). While some homeowners will proceed to design with Alucobond cladding as their feature cladding of choice, most will choose a paint finish on rendered lightweight cladding and save thousands in doing so.

The same goes for tiles in the main living area, hardwood timber staircase, etcetera (some builders offer that last one as a free upgrade if you sign before you leave their office!).

  1. Time & Inflation

Even with the simplest of custom homes, it takes at least one year from the time our clients make contact with us, to the time the keys to their new home are handed over.

During this year the cost to build will soar (sometimes more than inflation). This is often missed by news outlets that are quick to point out the increase in the selling prices of finished homes while saying little to nothing about the cost of building those homes.

So, if the cost of our past projects is not the best way to budget for your future home, what is?

What determines the building cost

The cost to build a home–custom or project, past or future, prayed on to the gods of lowest price or not–is a consequence of 4 main elements.

And unless you are building the same dead-beat shoebox project home on the same block of land, the cost to build your custom home will vary depending on these elements:

  1. The size and complexity of your design

As a general rule of thumb, a bigger house will cost more in total, but less per square metre than a smaller one. Also, adding a bathroom will cost more than adding a study (think plumbing, tiling, etc.).

The same price variance presents itself once you break straight external walls into cosy courtyards and bin storage locations. As cute as they may look, those structural returns, add to the cost considerably.

  1. The nature of your land and the quality of its soil

Once you have purchased your block of land you have, in effect, agreed to spend a somewhat predictable amount of money in footing and external works.

A flat block of land with non-reactive soil, while it may cost more to purchase (depending on the suburb of course), will allow you to utilise more of your budget on the house part that’s seen, used and enjoyed (the house above ground and its finishes).

  1. The fitting and fixtures you choose

While you can easily budget on upgrading a kitchen sink or mixer, it does get more complicated when you go from cornices to square set, and from square set to bulkheads with LED feature lighting and pelmet returns.

At HBC Homes we start with our Essential Selections of high quality and reasonably priced inclusions, and from there give the home owner the freedom to upgrade the finishes they value the most.

  1. The builder’s gross profit

Before there was a virus, there were 10 SA home builders that went out of business in 2019. The legend goes that they all thought a $XY,000.00 of profit on a lousy square metre rate estimated project would afford them the latest pickup trucks, insta-worthy vacations, and of course the company overheads!

A home owner who thinks it is a good thing their builder is working on the cheap, must have a plan on how they will progress if that builder shuts the doors and leaves their home in sticks.

At HBC Homes we charge consistent and fair profit margins (no matter the level of building experience our client has) aimed at sustainability and long-term success.

The solution in our design and build process

Given that we do not have a brochure with designs and prices to choose from (no custom home builder should have), and given that our past projects cost can skew your budget planning due to their specific location, custom inclusions and time frame (designed and quoted many months prior to completion), how do you go about building your family home without blowing your family’s budget?

Here at HBC Homes we solve that challenge through our design and build process.

It all starts with understanding all there is about your dream home–i.e. size, looks, location, inclusions, timeframe, etc.–as a function of what you want to spend in achieving it.

After so many custom homes built, once we clarify the above, we will honestly tell you whether your goal is reasonable or based on widely spread misinformation used to “sign people up and fix them after”.

An inflexible budget doesn’t mean that you cannot build your home. It simply means that you have to design and build smartly, prioritise quality and maybe, forego some nice-to-haves to avoid jeopardising your finances by having to pay for variations you never saw coming.

And that is why when someone contacts us to find out how much, we do not have an answer until we have found out exactly what is being built.

P.S. If you are thinking about building your dream home, we would love to help. Feel free to send us an email to info@hbchomes.com.au or fill out our contact form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

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