Home Building Thread


what up gents?

I am curious about what the process and costs of building a home are in WNY. I have a vacant lot (approx 65x130ft) in Port Colborne, ON that i am looking to develop but i cannot find any respectable builder to touch the project for under $300 per sq ft cdn. even pre-fab homes are in that price range up here.

the lot is not in a nice neighbourhood but there are incentives for developing in that area. the long term plans for the area (i have seen the city’s plans) are pretty cool though.

i know that even if some of you have relevant experience you likely cannot help with a project on this side of the border but still curious to have a discussion on it here.

i am looking at building a modest duplex or small apartment building. It is zones for upward of a fourplex but the rezoning is not a major hurdle to go to 5+ and there are favourable mortgage options in the 5+ range here as well.


Did you happen to see my “home insurance?” thread?
My insurance guy claims he won’t quote insurance for any less than $300 per sq. ft.
That seems high to me here in WNY but up there it would make more sense.
My buddy just built a beautiful timber frame house for just over $200 per.
Maybe here in the south towns we just get much better deals on building.
Or maybe us business owners are just better at negotiating deals. :slight_smile:


That seems outrageous. Granted it was almost 15 years ago, but we built our very simple colonial for about $75/sqft. I couldnt imagine spending $2-300 sqft on two story square box.

I found this from 3 years ago from one of the local builders here in Rochester (that I wouldnt use but its an example). $85-125/sqft.



In the states lots of things change when you go over 4 units. It changes from being a residential property to a commercial. Here you would need fire protection, a much more expensive electrical system, and yearly inspections. Making any modifications to the property is much more involved.

If you can stick build a 4 unit on the site and the attainable rents net you a positive cash flow after your cost estimates then I would go that route.

Would it make any sense to build vertical on the site and create a mixed use property with apartments upper and store front lower?


No a mixed use commercial doesn’t make sense here. it is purely residential, zoned R3 if you know the Ontario code.

What i would love to find is one of the builders that have experience with putting up the small apartment buildings that know the full cost and can almost pull a complete quote from a template of having done in dozens of times. however, googling doesnt help find one of those kinds of companies.

rents are not an issue, Southern Ontario has a vacany rate of less than 1% for residential rentals. there are more ‘looking to rent’ ads on Kijiji than there are places to rent and with Canadian real estate and mortgage rules changing it is making ownership virtually impossible for most families which means the rental market will remain in under-supply for a while.


A duplex or apartment building would probably cost more I’m assuming because of the amount of bathrooms, kitchens, HVAC, electrical, etc. not to mention canadian dollar vs us dollar. But I posted this in the insurance thread, my 3400 sq ft house, built by a very reputable builder, in a nice neighborhood in Clarence was $188 a square foot with multiple upgrades. They nickled and dimed us to death on the overages but overall I can’t imagine paying much over $200 a square foot here, unless you went stupid high end on things that don’t need to be.


Building costs vary insanely widely depending on what you’re looking for. It’s hard to get into any Single-Family Home in the states for under $125/sqft, unless it’s a tract house. I’m guessing the average is probably closer to $150-175/sqft for what I call semi-custom.

All depends on what you’re building. Extensive foundations and basements bump the price up significantly. Complex roofing and framing is also a hefty add-on.