Relative Construction Costs by U.S State (2024)
By Roof Online Staff • Last updated November 16, 2023
This list of construction cost multipliers for U.S. states is intended to give you a very rough idea of how construction costs can vary according to location. These are rough guidelines and we make no claim as to the accuracy or applicability of our numbers.
We have clients with real estate assets in many different states. We’re often asked to prepare budgets that include roof replacement costs for properties around the country, sometimes in places where we haven’t worked before. Our clients depend on the accuracy of our budget estimates.
We’ve done a lot of research on local construction costs in order to improve the accuracy of our budget projections. One very useful thing we did was put together a list of construction cost factors or multipliers that lets us quickly modify our construction cost estimates according to the location of the project.
Our estimates of relative construction costs by state are produced using data from several different sources. One thing we do is compare costs from our own project, property, and account files. Our files contain extensive price data for actual construction projects bid on by contractors around the county.
We also use our contacts among major contractors and building supply companies (we can simply ask them what current prices are), and publicly available cost and price databases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a particularly good source of information.
State university systems are also excellent sources of local construction cost data which can be compared state by state. These entities have to make the costs of their construction projects available to the public. The available project documents typically include the actual contractor bids for real projects and are often broken down to the level of unit and square foot prices.
Factors that Determine Relative Construction Costs
Real Estate Prices
This almost goes without saying, but if you’re building new, the cost of real estate is going to be a huge factor. You can see the median home prices in every state here. You can see recent changes in housing costs by state here.
Construction costs for existing properties (such as replacing a roof) are also affected by real estate prices, in the sense that a rising tide lifts all boats (and drives up all prices).
The difference in local labor wage rates is the biggest factor in the overall difference in construction costs from state to state.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides detailed data on current and historical labor costs for states and metropolitan areas. We use BLS local labor cost data as a major input for our relative construction cost data table below.
Local cost of living is a big driver of wage levels. Regional price parities (by state) can be seen here.
Local taxes, permit costs, and other fees are another big factor when it comes to the difference in construction costs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The cost of transporting building materials affects construction costs. Shipping costs can be a significant factor in places like Hawaii and Alaska, where materials cannot be shipped directly from a factory via freight train or even truck.
Even where the actual cost of shipping is low, there are also local transportation surcharges, tolls, and taxes to take into account.
Construction material and building component requirements for similar projects vary according to local building and energy codes. A prime example of this is the different insulation R-value requirements that are determined by climate zone. A low-slope roof installed in Vermont may need twice as much insulation as a similar roof installed in Florida.
Building codes are often modified to account for local weather variables like hurricanes, snow, and average temperatures (both extreme heat and extreme cold weather affect building costs).
Things like corrosive coastal environments and the prevalence of earthquakes may also affect the types of materials that can be used and the structural standards that must be met.
Relative Construction Cost Table
This table provides a local cost factor or multiplier that you can use to compare typical construction costs from place to place. Multiply the national average cost for any particular construction project by the local factor. This will give you a rough idea of how much more or less expensive that project will be due to its location.
|Relative Construction Costs by U.S. State
|State (or City)
|Local Cost Factor
|(New York City)
|(Dallas – Fort Worth)