post #31 of 31
Well, around here, I know it's that we're not on the way to anywhere, we're 2.5 hours or more from the nearest interstate.  Trucks are delivering stuff and coming away largely empty, because although we have timber, that's a different kind of truck.  So, transport for tile, for instance, you're paying for freight in both directions.  Of course, there's rail, but if it's coming on a truck, your transport costs are high.  So, right away the raw materials other than milled lumber cost more.  I suspect wages could go higher or lower depending on which economy you're comparing us to at any point in time. 

Land prices are also impacted a bit by the sheer amount of government owned land around ski areas.  Looks like lots of empty land around them, but much of it is not available for sale, which of course makes land values higher.  I'm surrounded by timber company land myself, also not for sale.  Lots of "empty land" again. 

As I recall when I was looking at contractors, price quotes per square foot were all over the map (this was around 2002) from $75 to $275, depending pretty much on "finishes" and IMO the quality of construction. 

Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

I don't know about what it takes to keep the floor warm or shed the snow off the roof but I see homes in the mountains with electric strip wallboard heaters, electric water heaters, electric ovens and ranges, Formica counter tops, linoleum kitchen and bath floors, fiberglass tubs, no overhead lighting in any room, painted overlap siding and no landscaping selling in the mountain west for 50% more per square foot than air conditioned, gas heated, gas kitchen, tile bath and kitchen, granite or marble counter tops, brick exteriors and landscaped lots sell for all over the southeast. I also see golf course development lots sell for twice as much in the mountain west than in the southeast. Both golf courses were farms or ranches before they were developed but in the west once they're called a golf course development prices go up astronomically. I know something about these prices because I'm fortunate enough to own one in each area. I have not built a building in the west but I have built several homes and numerous commercial buildings in the south so I'm not a complete babe in the woods. Maybe it's due to the cost of land but I've tried to factor that in and I can't make it explain the difference. Maybe it's the cost of labor but I just can't believe it's that much more difficult to build a house in the mountain west. I do know that if it were easy there would be thousands of builders (supply and demand) from all over the country moving out to show the folks in the mountains how to build a good home at a fair price. There is evidently something about the mountain west housing market I just do not understand.