Build Your Own House

Cost to Build a House in New Mexico

How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in New Mexico


I own a piece of property in some high desert mountains south of Socorro, NM.

I am thinking of building a retreat/vacation cabin.

I am having contractors tell me the cost should be between $100 and $115 per sq ft.

I think at this time in the economy I should be able to do it for $50 or $60.

Am I just dreaming or is it possible? Tom B.

Hi Tom,

Good question...a question that is surely on the minds of many people.

But I think you are assuming that the average cost to build a new home has fallen by as much of a percentage as home values have (in some areas).

This did not happen.

While it’s true that new home builders and land developers made news clearing out inventory at record low prices, the actual cost to build a custom home fell only slightly.

So, to help you get an idea of what it does cost to build a new house in the Socorro area, I picked what I think is an attractive house for the area to run a cost to build analysis.

Let's check out the approximate (rough) cost to build this house.
Southwestern House Plan116-217 Southwestern House Plans

Levels: 2
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3
Garage Stalls: 2 (410 sq ft)
Width: 45'Depth: 57'Height:: 21'
Square Footage:
Heated Square Footage: 1583
Main Floor: 1057
Upper Floor: 526
Porch: 54
Patios: 410
Exterior Walls 2"x4"
Foundations: Can be built on a Basement, a Crawlspace, or a Concrete Slab
Style: Southwestern
Related Styles: Adobe Santa Fe
Lifestyle Features: covered front porch

Designer notes:

Features three bedrooms and three full baths

A tiled Foyer opens into a large Living Room with a unique Kiva Fireplace.

The Master Bedroom located on the upper level adjoins with a private deck An efficient "U" shaped Kitchen with snack bar is located next to the Dining area Second Master Bedroom on first level with private bath opens onto a walled patio

To estimate the building cost, I'll use the Cost to Build Calculator discussed on my "Getting Started" page.

I used "Quality Class" # 6 (minimum custom home quality) for a basic rough estimate, and a Zero-clearance insulated prefab metal fireplace with brick facing instead of a Kiva. 

Since there is no intricate roof framing, I am using the 6 corner template for the calculator.

Using this foundation shape on the cost to build calculator for the Socorro, New Mexico area, I came up with a total cost to build of $165,529 including a General Contractor Markup of $22,891. Using a General Contractor for a "turn key" job, the cost to build is approximately $105 per sq ft.

I determined the owner/builder cost to build to be $142,638 by deducting the General Contractor’s markup of $22,891 from the $165,529. That's an approximate construction cost of $90 per sq ft.

You should keep in mind that the cost to build for this example, or any house plan, can vary considerably depending quality of materials selected, and on actual bids for labor and material.

The estimate for this house is an approximate one based on average quality materials and a concrete slab foundation.

For those of you who are acting as your own General Contractor (owner/builder), until you actually start getting bids and entering them into your own cost estimating spreadsheet (see my spreadsheet page for FREE spreadsheets), it will remain approximate.)

Tom, assuming that you will be building a home with at least minimum quality materials and construction, I think the general contractors you have been talking to are quoting cost of construction figures that do reflect the current economy.

Important Notice to Readers: You can use the free estimating software to update this 2016 estimate to see if the cost has changed. You can also experiment with different building quality inputs that affect the cost to build.

Carl Heldmann