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What is the Average Cost to Build a House in the South Island of NZ?

What is the Average Cost to Build a House in the South Island of NZ?


While the cost of each building project varies, the average cost of construction has risen significantly in recent years. 

In this article, we discuss the cost of building a new house in New Zealand, referencing the national averages. We also share how much a prefab home costs, including transport.

Construction costs NZ

According to the Cordell Construction Cost Index (CCCI)*, the cost of building is rising at a relatively slow rate. In the first quarter of 2024, the average cost rose by 0.5%. The annual growth rate was also low, at just 2.3%, which is the lowest increase since 2016.

The pace of residential construction cost growth has slowed significantly since the spike in 2022 as the effects of COVID-19 have eased. Supply chains have normalised and activity has declined, easing the strain on the industry. 

Looking ahead, the pace of construction cost growth is likely to remain subdued throughout 2024. The industry itself is also facing less pressure on workloads and capacity, with fewer new dwelling consents. For households looking to build a new house, it’s unlikely to get any cheaper than it is this year.

*The Cordell Construction Cost Index (CCCI) shows the cost to build a ‘standard’, single-storey, three-bedroom, two-bathroom, brick-and-tile standalone dwelling over a normal build-time duration. Please note that this data also excludes fees, project management, and land prices. At Genius Homes, our base costs include full project management as a standard inclusion.

Download our Standard Inclusions and Upgrades Guide

The average cost of building a house NZ

Material and labour costs

According to the 2024 Cordell Building Indices, material and labour costs to build a standard home* only rose by 0.5% in Quarter 4. This has brought the annual rate down to 2.3% and shows the growth rate has begun to ease.

*This refers to the average cost to build a 3 bedroom house, meaning a standard single-storey, three-bedroom, two-bathroom, brick-and-tile standalone dwelling built over a normal build-time duration. 

Building consent costs

New dwelling consents in January were at 36,453, down 26% from the previous year. This will have a positive effect and reduce construction costs. The number of building consents is down in all major regions, with Auckland down 28%, Waikato down 27%, Wellington down 41%, Canterbury down 24%, and the rest of the South Island down 23%.

Building cost per square metre

While it is impossible to provide an accurate cost per square metre, we can provide a rough estimate as a starting point. For a basic new build home with no extra features, you can expect the costs to average around $3,500m2, however, a midrange of $4,000 to 6,000m2 is more usual. Anything higher than $7,000m2 is consistent with an architectural home.

Average cost of building a house

How to minimise building costs

1. Avoid hidden costs

When you compare quotes, make sure you’re comparing the same deliverables. It is common for cheaper quotes to leave out certain items, meaning they’ll come as a costly surprise later. To avoid this, make sure to ask about the costs that aren’t included, such as transport, consent, or design customisations.

2. Budget for unexpected costs

We recommend allowing at least 10% of your budget for cost overruns and unforeseen costs. Also, don’t expect the weather to turn out as predicted. Rain delays could impact labour and material costs. However, if you don’t end up needing it, you can spend it on furnishings or a big housewarming party!

3. Be specific

From the beginning of your project, try to be as specific as possible about the materials and finishes you want. This will ensure your architects and builders can provide a more accurate estimate. It also reduces the need to tweak the designs, streamlining the consent and building processes.

4. Build a prefab home

Compared to working with an architect or group home builder, a prefab building company is more cost-effective. Prefab construction is mostly completed in a factory, which reduces weather delays and contractor commuting. This streamlines the project, stays on budget, and eliminates unexpected costs and delays.

Fixed costs

At Genius Homes, our prefab home base costs are fixed and final. This means we can provide you with a clear and accurate price at the beginning of your project, starting at around $119,500 including GST. We’ll also guide you through the other costs, including the delivery, installation and site work costs, which can vary depending on the house purchased and the site location.

Prefab home loans

Genius Homes has partnered with BNZ, offering specialised loans for prefab construction, ensuring all costs are paid for in a timely manner. You can learn more about a prefab loan with BNZ here. These loans are specialised for prefab construction so that all work is paid for on time. BNZ will take security over the land and the prefab, allowing them to treat the funding similarly to a conventional house build. 

Select Range

If you are working with a smaller budget, or need a new home in a quicker timeframe, our Select Range provides cost-effective solutions. By opting for these pre-designed homes, you eliminate the need for a bespoke design process, speed up the project timeline, and lower the overall costs. 

Costs Saved with Genius Homes’ Standard Inclusions

Every Genius Homes prefab comes with a set of standard inclusions at no extra cost. From the framing to the finishing touches, we’ve outlined all standard inclusions and upgrades in our new guide. 

  • Council consent

  • Construction

  • Insulation and heatingWindows and Doors

  • Interior Fitout

  • Electrical and Plumbing

  • Kitchen

  • Bedrooms

  • Bathrooms

  • Decking and Verandahs

Download your free copy now to see the full list and product specifications. 

Download our Standard Inclusions and Upgrades Guide

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