Construction Cost per Square Foot for Multifamily Apartments 2012

by Dean Dalvit on May 20, 2014

EVstudio has been involved in a significant number of multifamily projects, both for architectural design as well as engineering. All of these projects start with a pro forma and a fundamental question: How much does it cost to build a Multifamily Apartment building?

Because this is time sensitive data, we try to post as much information as we can on a regular basis in order to inform our clients’ programs. This post is relevant for 2012 and the data below is excerpted courtesy of RSMeans, the industry leader in construction cost estimating. These costs are for the construction of the buildings themselves, and do not include land costs, soft costs, financing costs or FF&E costs.

The Apartment buildings that we are studying in this post are 4-7 stories. Above is a chart, representing the construction cost per square foot for these projects, classified by region. Note, there are wide differences in cost depending on location, and New York City tops the chart at $232.14 per square foot while Winston-Salem is on the low end at $133.28 per square foot. The median falls around $178 per square foot.

It is important to note, however, that every project is unique, and index pricing cannot be relied upon solely for outlining your project budget. Many factors must be considered – not only geographic location. Building complexity, program, amenities and level of finish all serve to inform the estimated cost of the project and a qualified full service design firm like EVstudio can help design to your budget. If you would like to discuss your project, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can help you with any phase from entitlements to architecture and engineering to final punchlist.

Originally posted 2012-08-01 13:02:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Dalvit November 1, 2014 at 8:22 am

Thank you Ali, that is much appreciated! To answer your question, all of the data you see here is strictly finished building construction costs. It is exclusive of land, entitlement, finance, soft and FF&E costs.

Ali Amir November 1, 2014 at 2:17 am

Hi Dean

Just came across this site while browsing generally on construction cost estimates. Must recommend your firm for taking the time to answer the above, some very generic questions with so much detail!

My question is that the estimates per location you have provided for 2012, are they exclusive or inclusive of land cost?


Dean Dalvit July 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Ranjna, Thank you for your inquiry. There are a lot of variables that would inform your project, but for the basis of creating a starting point, we would determine the square footage per unit in order to use the data we have available. Your unit description for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath and one kitchen may be as little as 800 square feet or as much as 1,200 square feet. If we took the median and figured 1,000 square feet per unit, then a 4-plex would be approximately $800,000 in construction cost for the building, using $200/sq.ft. from the data. A 20 plex would correspondingly be a 4 million dollar cost for the building. These costs are exclusive of land costs, entitlements costs, site improvement costs, finance costs and soft costs, so you would have to factor those in separately.

Your question about how much capital to put in will depend entirely on your financing options. Based on your circumstances, you may be able to secure a 20% down and 80% loan to value, which would be great in this market. The more you can leverage, the less capital you will personally require. There are a myriad of terms and conditions that go with conventional loans and there are other capital sources to consider as well, like hard money lenders or private equity partners.

We have a team of multifamily specialists that design projects all over the US and Canada. Our focus is on a successful pro forma and designing to minimize construction costs in order to maximize your return on investment. We would be happy to discuss your project in greater detail and help you with your architecture and engineering services moving forward. Just let us know how we can help. Thanks!

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