Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy in 2024?

June 11, 2024
is it cheaper to build or buy

Key takeaways:

  • Building a home in 2024 allows for customization and is generally cheaper than buying, especially in major cities except Perth.
  • Buying an existing home is faster and more convenient but usually more expensive upfront with less room for personalization.
  • Building involves additional costs like land purchase, stamp duty, and construction expenses, while buying involves higher upfront costs and possible renovation needs.
  • The decision to build or buy depends on budget, timeline, location, and personal preferences, with building offering cost savings and customization, while buying offers convenience and immediate availability.

Making the decision to either build a new home or buy an existing one can be challenging. Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice depends on your budget, needs, and personal preferences. So, is it cheaper to build or buy in 2024?

In this article, we’ll break down the costs, benefits, and downsides of both building and buying a home in 2024, giving you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Building vs buying a home in 2024

Building a home means you purchase land and then build a house on it. You can construct it independently and build it the way you want. Plus, you will be the first owner of the home and the first person living in a newly built house. 

On the other hand, buying an existing house means you purchase an already constructed house. There are chances that people might have lived here before you, and it might have had several owners.

There are pros and cons of building or buying an existing property in 2024, which we’ll explain in this post. The following is a comparison of the costs of building and buying in 2024:

is it cheaper to build or buy

Cost of building a home

The cost of building your own house includes two main costs: 

  • Cost of purchasing land
  • Construction costs

The first step is to estimate the cost of land. The total land price includes various other costs. For instance, the home buyer has to pay stamp duty. Besides that, other fees include land tax, property inspection fees, legal fees, agent fees, and other minor costs.

The price per square meter of land is highest in Sydney and lowest in Adelaide. The construction costs are the same throughout the cities, costing around $1,631 per square meter of land.

So, if we calculate the costs of building a house in the capital city with a rough estimate, it will be as follows:

Sydney: Total land price + Total construction cost 

                                          = $494,741.50 + $362,897

                                          = $858,132.5

If a home buyer doesn’t have this amount to construct their own house, they can consider getting a construction loan. A construction loan provides a good financing option and provides funds according to the building process. 

Cost to Build a House by Type in Australia (2024)

The following table shows the average construction cost per square meter for different types of houses. Please note that these costs do not include the price of land, which can vary widely based on location.

Type of HouseAverage Cost per Square Meter
Single-family home$1,620 – $3,030
Custom-built home$2,700 – $5,400
Pole barn house$540 – $1,620
Barndominium$700 – $1,730
Modular home$860 – $1,730
Log cabin$1,080 – $3,240
A-frame house$1,080 – $3,240
Shipping container home$1,620 – $3,780
Tiny house$1,620 – $4,860

Comparison Summary

  • Building a Home: Generally cheaper in terms of initial costs, allows customization, and often more energy-efficient. However, it requires more time and effort, including dealing with construction timelines and unexpected delays.
  • Buying a Home: Faster process with immediate availability. You can see the finished product and move in quickly. However, it’s usually more expensive upfront and offers less customization.

Cost of buying a home

is it cheaper to build or buy

The cost of buying an established house in Sydney is $1,160,000. You can seek professional advice from a local representative or a real estate agent who can guide you with several home purchasing options.

A home loan is useful as it provides funds to purchase a home, and then the home buyer can repay the loan in instalments to the lender. 

Building vs. buying: comparison of costs

As you see, there is a big difference in the costs of building a house versus buying a home in Sydney and in other capital cities. The same is for every city; buying land and then constructing your own home is cheaper than buying an existing home.

There is only one city, Perth, where the cost of buying could be less than the cost of building a house. 

The costs of building or buying an established property also vary according to the real estate property’s location, skilled labor availability, and a good house and land package. But, as a general rule, the above comparison shows that the cost of building or buying an existing home greatly differs. 

Advantages and disadvantages of building a home


  • Building a house allows you to save a lot. You can also choose the materials, lighting, fixtures, and other items according to your budget and build a cheaper home. Thus, building your own home is an energy-efficient option.
  • You can get construction loans if you don’t have money to build a home. Construction loans provide a line of credit to help you during the construction stages.

is it cheaper to build or buy


  • Constructing a home takes longer, most probably a few months or years, depending on the type of home. This might be problematic if you plan to have a home as soon as possible.
  • Building a new home is complicated. Plus, you have to take care of everything, and overall it can be a stressful experience.

Advantages and disadvantages of buying a home


  • The process is much faster. You just have to choose an established property, handle the legal documentation, pay the property’s appraised value, and own it right away. 
  • Buying an existing home is very convenient. Most of all, you know what you’re getting because the property is already established. 
  • Most constructed properties are located in already established localities


  • You can’t personalize it because the home is already constructed. There might be many features unavailable in established properties.
  • You have to pay Stamp duty which is too high for buying a home.
  • An established house might be many years old and have gone through wear and tear

Verdict: is it cheaper to build or buy in 2024?

You can personalize your home and build your dream home. Building a home allows you to customize everything from scratch according to your preferences.

However, the biggest disadvantage is that buying a home is costly.

After comparing building or buying a home, we analysed that building a home is cheaper than buying a home.

FAQs on the build vs buy dilemma

Further Reading: Cost to Build a House in Melbourne

Is it cheaper to build or buy?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the location, the size of the house, the materials used, and the current market conditions.

In general, it is cheaper to buy an existing house than to build a new one. However, there are some cases where building a house can be more cost-effective.

For example, if you are building a custom home in a desirable location, the cost of building may be comparable to the cost of buying an existing home.

Will building costs go down in 2024 Australia?

It is difficult to say for sure whether building costs will go down in 2024 Australia. The construction industry is cyclical, and there are a number of factors that can affect prices, such as the cost of materials, labor, and land.

However, some experts believe that building costs may start to come down in 2024 as the housing market cools.

Should I build a house in 2024 Australia?

Whether or not you should build a house in 2024 Australia depends on your individual circumstances and goals. If you are looking for a custom home in a desirable location, building may be a good option for you.

However, if you are on a tight budget or are not sure how long you will stay in the home, buying an existing house may be a better choice.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to build or buy is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer, and the best decision for you will depend on your specific circumstances.

Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

  • Your budget: How much money do you have to spend on a house?
  • Your timeline: How soon do you need to move?
  • Your needs: What kind of house do you need or want?
  • Your location: Where do you want to live?
  • Your preferences: Do you want to build a custom home or buy an existing one?

Once you have considered these factors, you can start to narrow down your options and make a decision about whether to build or buy.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
Share this article
Don’t waste time searching for a home. Let our AI do the work
Soho logo

Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier 

Soho logo
Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.