The housing shortage and cost of living in California have been in the headlines for some time. Not helping the matter are construction costs in Los Angeles. They were $35 more expensive per square foot compared to the rest of the state, according to a March 2020 report by UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. From the years 2008-2009 to 2018, the cost of building a multifamily complex rose 25%.1
Hard construction accounted for 60% of the total cost of a new residential building or house in Los Angeles, according to the report. One can see how important it is to plan a home construction project.
Even in areas such as the San Fernando Valley, renovating an average 2,000-square-foot home can cost over $200,000. However, there are other factors, as you’ll also foot the bill for construction costs such as:
- Labor: Generally, $200 to $250/person/day, which can add up on top of other construction costs.
- Materials: Material costs include lumber, flooring, piping, wiring, drywall, and paint, as well as energy-efficient windows to comply with new guidelines.
- Developer Fees: Developers and contractors must turn a profit, which is challenging with expenses such as insurance, 10-year warranty costs, and staff to pay.2 However, developers can effectively reduce pre-development expenses if they use commercial real estate software, like Northspyre, and/or pay close attention to their budget. This saved cost is then passed on to the client.
Itemized Construction Costs
Material and component costs have represented some of the largest increases in recent years. These include wood, plastic, and composite materials. Finishes and concrete were in not-too-distant second and third places.
From metal framing, decking, stairs, and railings to the cost of precast concrete, plasterboard, tiling, ceiling/flooring/wall finishes, and carpentry, there are many cost factors to consider. Plus, many homeowners demand fabrication for things like railings and paneling or architectural woodwork.1
Home Renovation Costs
Remodeling an entire home in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, or San Diego can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 per square foot3 , but not all home renovations are created equal. Some require more extensive work than others, depending on the condition of the home and the scope of the project. Here’s a cost breakdown of some common remodeling projects.
A small bathroom can be redone for as little as $15,000. Generally, smaller bathrooms in Los Angeles cost around $25,000 to remodel, but a large master bathroom can cost $60,000 or more to renovate. Bathroom construction costs can include:
- Vanities: Prefab units range from $300 to $2,000, while a custom vanity often starts at $2,000.
- Showers: A shower overhaul can require extensive remodel work, while a prefab shower surround can cost around $1,000 to install.
- Bathtub: A small shower/tub combo for a secondary bathroom costs between $300 and $800, but, for master bathrooms, larger and more sophisticated tubs are a significant percentage of your budget.
- Floor/Wall Tile: These vary greatly in cost, dependent upon materials, but can be quite expensive, depending on the room size and how much surface area is tiled.
- Plumbing: Assume you’ll need a toilet, sink, tub faucet, at least one showerhead, two faucets, plus handles, valves, and pipe; plumbing for a large master bath can cost $2,000+.
- Electrical Lighting: This is usually not a significant part of your budget, unless you’re making major changes such as adding new circuits, relocating outlets/switches with a layout change, or installing designer lighting.4
As kitchens have become more open, they have become more integral to life at home. Members of the household cook, gather, converse, eat, and work in kitchens. Usually straightforward, kitchen remodels in Los Angeles can cost from $35,000 to $100,000 or more; most fall within $45,000 to $70,000.
If you’re reconfiguring the kitchen, expect to pay for water, electrical, and gas infrastructure changes, as well as for venting. Removing/adding walls and creating an odd configuration also add to the construction costs. The primary components of a kitchen remodel include:
- Cabinets: Pre-fabricated cabinets generally start at about $150 per lineal foot, while custom cabinets typically start at around $250 per lineal foot. Fixing unlevel ceilings, changing the angle of a corner upper cabinet, or adding features such as pull-out shelves and soft-close doors add dollars.
- Countertops: A standard countertop can cost $40 to $50 per square foot. Luxury countertops can go for $100 to $150 or more per square foot, meaning this cost aspect for a full kitchen remodel can go as high as $20,000.
- Appliances: The cost of appliances varies, depending on the brands and models you choose. You can fit standard appliances into a tight budget for around $2,500, but luxury brands can add up to $50,000 to your project. If existing appliances are being re-installed, notify contractors so they treat them accordingly and there are no unexpected costs.
- Backsplash: The most cost-effective option is a piece of countertop material, but many homeowners choose porcelain, ceramic, glass, or even marble or quartz tile. The options vary widely in cost.
- Sink: Stainless steel sinks are popular and affordable, but there are various metals, composites, and enamels to choose from. Sizing and styling vary widely as well.
- Islands: Some of the cost of cabinets and counters is absorbed into that of the kitchen island, as these are generally incorporated. How many electrical outlets installed; where you hang lights over the island; and its length, depth, and overall functionality affect the final cost.5
Room additions are expensive and often include every structural, architectural, functional, and decorative element you need. These are some of the common types of additions in Los Angeles and their average construction costs:
- Detached Garage Conversion: These range $200 to $300 per square foot for a standard two-car garage, for a total of around $85,000 to $125,000.
- Accessory Dwelling Unit, up to 1,200 Square Feet: At $300 to $450 per square foot, the total price averages out to $100,000 to $400,000.
- Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit, up to 500 Square Feet: This is created within the existing space of your home, with an average cost of $40,000 to $100,000.
- Construction Additions: These cost from $250 to $400 per square foot. The total price varies significantly, depending on the scope of the project and function of the addition. Bedrooms/family rooms are usually cheaper than kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, but a master suite can range up to $200,000, depending on size and other factors.6
Contact GreatBuildz About Your Home Construction Project
At GreatBuildz, we connect homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with the most experienced, reputable contractors in the area. We make finding a renovation contractor simple and help you budget for the right construction costs in Los Angeles. To get started, call us at 818-317-3567 and we’ll match you with pre-screened general contractors at no cost.