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The cost per square foot factor

Why do smaller homes sometimes cost more per square foot than larger homes?

Smaller homes start out at a relative disadvantage to larger ones because they often cost more per square foot. That’s because every house needs certain high-ticket items, like a heating, air conditioning and ventilation system, at least one bathroom and a kitchen. As a house gets bigger, the incremental cost for these pricey items lessens.

When it comes to value, size isn’t the only consideration. Shape matters too.

Because a single-story house requires a bigger roof and foundation than a multistory one with the same square footage, it usually will cost more per square foot. The quality of materials, height of walls, level of trim, number and shape of windows and difficulty of construction all factor in, too.

So it’s possible for a jewel-box rambler with coffered or vaulted ceilings, bow or bay windows, top-of-the-line kitchen and tumbled marble floors to be more expensive than a big boxy Colonial nearby with only builder-grade fixtures and finishes.