Is Building A Prefab Cheaper Than Buying An Existing Home?

Is Building A Prefab Cheaper Than Buying An Existing Home?

Grace Shu
Jul 2, 2008

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a dinner party hosted by one of our former architecture professors. The topic of conversation? The cost of prefabs. Another guest at the party was building one and remarked, "You know, I thought when I was going to start building a prefab, the overall cost would be cheaper than just buying an existing house in a good neighborhood! Turns out? I'm paying almost 30% more, plus I can't move in my new house for another six months."

[ Photo of the Living Home by Ray Kappe via BestHouseDesign Blog ]

Aside from some costs that he wasn't anticipating (soil testing alone cost about $20,000!), this guest was already worried about the longevity of his as-yet-unfinished home. "At least it's the house I want, brand new, with all the eco-friendly appliances, solar power, and custom landscaping!" he said. Hypothetically speaking:

If you had a decent amount of money socked away in your underwear drawer and you were looking to get a house, would you buy an existing house or build a prefab?

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