Is it cheaper to buy a bigger home or add space on your current one?

The answer depends on real estate trends in your local area, including current home prices, labor, and material costs trends. Realm’s exclusive cost per square foot index uses up-to-date data to help you determine if it is better to buy a bigger house or build more square feet in your county.

Use the table below to search for your county. A county with a ratio of > 100% means it is more expensive per square foot to buy than to build, and you’re better off adding space to your current house than moving.

If your county falls into that category, make sure to check out our guide to home additions and look up your property at to learn more about how much space you’re allowed to build and to get a cost estimate specific to your zip code.

Note: This analysis was refreshed on July 26, 2021. We only include counties with a sample size of > 1,000 properties. Feel free to email us at if you have any questions.

If you do live in an area where it is cheaper to build more space than to buy a bigger home, look up your property at Realm for a free analysis of cost & ROI for various home addition projects.

Published by Realm

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