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How much does it cost to build a new home in Canberra? | ACT

Putting a price tag on how much it will cost to build your new home can feel a whole lot like shouting ‘How long is a piece of string?’ into the void.

That’s because every dream home is different. Each home will be built on a different block of land. Every unique home-owner will be looking for different house plans, sizes, attributes, materials and finishings. And, every region of Australia has different average costs for foundations, land and construction.

Despite this variation, it is possible to budget and plan for your new home. This article will cover the costs and considerations for home building in Canberra and the ACT. 

By reading on, though you won’t end up with a magic number, you’ll have a good idea of the cost categories to consider, more familiarity with the challenges and benefits of building in the ACT, and more knowledge with which to approach your builder of choice. 

Getting into the Canberra zone

Often referred to as Australia’s Bush Capital, Canberra is known for its wide-open spaces and relatively small population (around 450,000 people). It has low-density living, good walkability to amenities and great connectivity.  

Fun fact: The name ‘Canberra’ was chosen over many others put forward for Australia’s new capital city, including ‘Union City’ and ‘Australville’. 

These lifestyle attributes are important to consider when choosing a block of land. For example, some of Canberra’s newest real estate suburbs Strathnairn and Denman Prospect will include public primary schools, shopping centres and parks, infrastructure that will ultimately add value to your future home. 

Add a visit to Rawson’s display homes on an upcoming weekend. You can see three home styles all ideally situated between Mount Stromolo and the National Arboretum. 

Parliament House in our capital, ACT.


How do I calculate my home building Canberra / ACT construction costs?

Just like building a house, working out how much a new home will cost to build involves lots of different parts that need to be individually chosen, then put together in a planned and skillful way!

Let’s start with the land.

The ACT is no different to Sydney (and most parts of NSW) in that the land you build on is likely to be the biggest cost for your new home.

Data from the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s 2024 State of the Land report revealed the median block price for the ACT in 2023 was $679,375. This represents a substantial increase from previous years’ figures (for example, the average in 2020 was $417,000). However, it’s worth understanding this in the context of block sizes. ACT block sizes are larger on average (and are not seen the same shrinking of size) than in any other capital region, including the whole of south-east Queensland. 

FACT: Average block sizes in the ACT have shrunk a little since 2013 but only from nearly 550 square metres to just under 475 square metres. That compares favourably with, for example, Melbourne, which has seen a drop in average size over the same time period from 450 to almost 350 sqm. 

Next, let’s look at the house itself. 

Because homes range from modest three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwellings to 6-bedroom, 3-bathroom, multiple living area affairs, looking at whole house costs isn’t very helpful. 

A better approach is to think and plan in terms of square metres. 

In the ACT, the Canberra Riders Digest 2024 report (produced by independent global construction and property consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall) puts construction costs for a custom built single or double storey residential dwelling at between $1,940 and $3,850 per square metre. 

These figures are derived from buildings constructed during the fourth quarter of 2023 and show only a modest increase in construction costs in Canberra over the prior year (since 2020, when the costs were $1700 - 3400 per square metre). 

These figures are a range rather than just one number for a very good reason. That’s because even when comparing two houses of the same size, costs can vary hugely depending on your chosen materials as well as personalised design elements and more challenging build sites.

Now, let’s look at your garden. This is where your land meets your home so it’s worth considering costs like fencing, retaining walls and landscaping. Some of these costs are an essential part of a build (such as retaining walls on a steeply-sloped block) but other times they are expenses that are optional and can happen over a number of years after you’ve moved in.

Finally, there are all the costs that are not directly related to the land or house build. This includes costs such as legal fees, planning permits and development applications. They can also include additional expenses like connections to utilities like water, sewerage, electricity and gas.

Though each of these costs will seem very small compared with the big-ticket items of land and building, they are significant enough to include in your budgeting and planning.

Capital home design master bedroom
Master bedroom of the Capital 36, on display now at Denman Prospect.


What if I need to demolish a house or other buildings first? 

Just like an artist starts with a blank canvas and a writer commences with a blank page, the costs given by a builder are based on a block that is ready to build on.

If there is already a house there, you’re looking at what’s known as a ‘knockdown rebuild’ project. If that’s the case, we encourage a read of our ‘Considering a knockdown rebuild?’ guide.  

Other site work costs can add significantly to your budget, which is why home builders ask for specifics of your block before considering a full quote.

Where you build your home is also a significant factor in the cost of construction. Canberra is currently the second most expensive Australian city in which to buy an established property with a median house price of $999,755 (only behind Sydney’s $1.36 million reported by CoreLogic in November 2021). For a more precise idea of your ACT building budget, there are a few questions you should consider asking yourself (and your builder) before you get started. 

How do I know what’s included?

When comparing builders, you need to have the mantra of ‘buyer beware’ in mind, simply because not all new home builders include everything you’ll need in the advertised price of a new home. Some home builders’ marketing brochures or websites will show a ‘base price’, which usually includes the absolute basics needed to get the home to lock-up stage only.

As you shop around for your new home, spend time getting familiar with the terms used. This will help you review and read information and contracts with confidence. You’ll be less likely to be hit with unexpected costs and variations, and you’ll be in a better position to negotiate and budget strongly. 

That’s why having different options offered by a highly reputable builder like Rawson Homes can be just the guidance you need. Rawson Homes’ Better Price model banishes nasty surprises by including all costs in an upfront way within the tender presentation, as well as transparency throughout the whole design and build process. 

Kymira Interior 11
Master bedroom of the Kymira 29 MKI, on display now at Denman Prospect.


Is it cheaper to buy or build a house?

Building a new home can be the best way to tick all your ‘must-have’ boxes. You can start with a blank slate, and create something that perfectly suits your family’s lifestyle, both now and into the future. 

Buying a pre-existing home means you can move in right after settlement, however, if you don’t love the layout or finishes there could be lengthy — and possibly pricey — renovations to consider. 

The added bonus of building a new home in an overall rising real estate market is the probability of gaining equity from the day you move in. By the time you receive the keys, your new home could be worth more than what it cost to build. 

Choosing a builder you can trust

Ultimately, building a home is very personal. So, the outcome (and costs) will be different for everyone. We hope this article has helped you understand the elements of building a budget for your dream home/.

We’ll leave you with the encouragement to reach out to a Rawson Homes consultant today, so you can get a good idea of your building budget right from day one. 



How much does it cost to build a house in Canberra?

There is no simple answer to this question however, as of late 2023, research showed that construction costs within the ACT ranged between $1,940 and $3,850 per square metre. 

How much does it cost to build a 3 bedroom house in Canberra?

Data from the ACT estimates building a house costs between $1,940 and $3,850 per square metre. This cost doesn’t include the price of the land the house will be built on, nor any site-preparation works or legal fees.

How much does it cost to build a 4 bedroom house in Canberra?

You need to consider the price of land as well as the actual building costs. Depending on your design and chosen materials, it’s best to allow between $1,940 and $3,850 per square metre for your house. Then, don’t forget to ask your builder about costs for site preparation, legals, permits and landscaping.

How much does it cost to build a 5 bedroom house in Canberra?

Five bedroom homes are great for a growing family and for when different generations come together under the one roof. Building up with a two-storey home means that you don’t necessarily need larger (and more expensive) land, however you’ll likely have more square metres in your house design.

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