Construction Costs Vary Significantly Between Cities

Construction technology.

According to the “North America Quarterly Construction Cost Report: Fourth Quarter 2019” published by Rider Levett Bucknall, construction costs vary between cities.

The report measured data between October 2018 and October 2019. No state had a less that 0% change, and San Francisco had the largest change at 7.79%. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, New York and Boston all had a change between 0-4%. Portland, Seattle, Honolulu, Washington, D.C. and Chicago all reported a 5-7% change.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, during October 2019, construction put in place was at a rate of $1,291.1 billion.

According to the report, between July 1, 2019 and Oct. 1, 2019, construction costs increased an average of 1.20%. Seattle experienced an average increase, while Honolulu, New York, Las Vegas, Portland and Washington, D.C. had greater increases than 1.20%. Los Angeles fell below the average at only .23%.

Construction costs have been rising consistently since the firm began tracking the National Construction Cost Index in April 2001, when its base was 100. By Q4 2014, the base had risen to 161, and, in its most recent report (Q4 2019), the base had risen to 206.

In the past year (October 2018 to October 2019), the average construction costs in the United States overall rose 5.2%. However, the rate of increase varied significantly in the twelve cities that the report measured specifically.

The six markets coming in above the annual average of 5.2% were:

- San Francisco (7.8%)

- Chicago (6.3%)

- Honolulu (6.2%)

- Seattle (6.2%)

- Washington, D.C. (6.2%)

- Portland (5.8%)

The six markets coming in below the annual average of 5.2% were:

- Los Angeles (1.1%)

- Boston (4.2%)

- New York (4.3%)

- Denver (4.3%)

- Las Vegas (4.8%)

- Phoenix (5.0%)

The report measured the project costs that included offices, retail shopping, hotels, hospitals, industrial, educational, residential and parking. The highest project cost was for hospitals in Los Angeles at $870 per square foot. The lowest project cost was for ground-level parking facilities in Phoenix at $45 per square foot.

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