What You Need to Know About New Home Construction in Virginia (2022)

Median home prices are reported to increase 6.6% year-over-year in 2022, the Washington Post reports. While the market still favors sellers, mortgage and home prices are expected to stabilize this summer (sometime). 

It could be the perfect time to buy a new home in Virginia, but with the market still on the seller’s side, perhaps it’s better to build your dream home in Virginia. Understandably, the process is confusing, so here’s what you need to know about new home construction in Virginia in 2022.

Buying vs. Building a Home in Virginia

Thinking of buying a home in Virginia? Here are a few considerations:

  • Convenience is the primary pro of buying a home in Virginia. If you have a tight schedule, you may be able to find a property, close the deal, and move within a year. Of course, that depends on your financial situation, pre-approval for a home loan, and current housing market trends. 
  • The overall cost of buying depends on if you plan on making upgrades or renovations vs. purchasing a home “as is.” While it may be tempting to skip an inspection just to secure a house, consider if your budget is big enough to absorb any needs for repairs. Allot an extra 10% for unforeseen costs, at least. Replacing anything in an older home can cost more than building one outright, depending on your needs.
  • You love a specific neighborhood. You may not find land to construct your new home, so your best option would be to purchase an existing house.
  •  Purchasing a newly constructed home within a new housing complex provides you with a built-in community and no worries about finding land.

Is building better? Building a new home in Virginia comes with benefits and possible downsides:

  • Freedom to customize the infrastructure and features of your new home, if your budget is flexible. Smart home, anyone? 
  • You’d purchase land and work with a home builder to design the home, whether that’s a new home in Chester, Richmond, or Virginia Beach. 
  • New home construction takes at least several months, but it will be outfitted with more energy-efficient heating/cooling, ventilation, and insulation.
  • A new home is less likely to need repairs for several years.

Fast FAQs on New Home Construction in Virginia

Here are some commonly asked questions on new home construction in Virginia with fast FAQs designed to help you make your decision on buying vs. building.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a house in Virginia in 2022?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median sale price of a new home as of June 2022 is $423,300, and the average sales price almost breaks half a million dollars. Naturally, the average sales prices reflect the market demand in Virginia. While you can build a quality home for less than an older home, the customizations you make on a new build can cost more than an average home in Virginia.

Is it cheaper to buy pre-construction?

A newly built house can cost more than buying an older home due to the cost of new materials, market growth, home value increases, and builder scarcity. In a high seller’s market, a pre-construction home becomes a viable option. 

A pre-construction house, also known as a new-build house, is available as soon as builders release homes or lots that you can buy. The developers commonly have just a few available homes for sale, but they should typically have a master plan ready for the community. New construction homes are often purchased directly from the builder and can include single-family homes, multi-family homes, townhomes, or condominium homes. 

You can tour a model home to see how the house will look, and make any decisions on customizations from the tour and available floor plans. While this can increase cost, at least you have the estimates in front of you.

What are the five stages of building a house?

Building a house is typically completed in a series of five steps that include the following:

  1. Pre-Construction Meeting: Once you have chosen to build your new house rather than buying one, a pre-construction meeting kicks off the process. You meet with your builder to review the specifications of the new house to ensure every need and desire for adjustments are made in the building plans.
  2. Foundation: After excavation and site preparation are completed, your contractor pours the foundation, usually a basement foundation, a crawl space foundation, or a concrete slab foundation. The whole process lasts three to four weeks.
  3. Framing: Your house gets its shape. Roof rafters are installed on the home with its windows and doors. Framing takes an average of two weeks.
  4. Mechanical Rough-Ins: Vendors help outfit your home with electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, and other elements that need to go in the floors, walls, and ceiling. Mechanical rough-ins take about four weeks.
  5. Interior Work: Your house gets its character as hardwood floors or ceramic tiles, shelving, siding, drywall and plastering, painting, cabinets, and trim are installed. Depending on your design choices, interior work takes about five weeks.

Ensure your builder is properly insured, has a good reputation, and quickly obtains the materials needed to construct your new home.

Is a new construction home worth it in Virginia?

It’s still a seller’s market in Virginia, especially in places like Northern Virginia (NoVA), and many buyers are choosing to wait for spring inventory in 2023. The available housing inventory in January was down by more than 46% from the same time in 2021, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. 

Many people are flocking to smaller cities, like Richmond, VA, where the average cost of rent is $1,315 for a 1-bedroom apartment, up 22% from last year, according to Zumper. Prospective home buyers turned renters may regret waiting out a seller’s market.

According to the Motley Fool, the average cost of a typical home in Virginia was $379,206, as of July 2022, and houses may last on the market for just a few weeks. In cities with high population growth, this number may be on the rise.

The verdict? It still may be cheaper to buy a fixer-upper in Virginia if where you want to live is a little flexible. However, a new construction home in Virginia is worth it for cost and convenience if your heart is set on residing in a particular area of a state made for lovers.

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