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Construction Blog Part 4: Cost to Build on Nantucket Per Square Foot


Building on Island

Cost to Build on Nantucket

Many people dream of owning a home on Nantucket and many consider hiring an architect and contractor to build out a project themselves. Well, there is a lot that goes into the building process. It is best to educate yourself in the many variables that may arise. In the three previous posts in this series, I covered finding the right property, town vs. country services and how to time your build.

I am frequently asked, “what is the cost to build on Nantucket”? Well, that is a very difficult question to answer considering all the big and little details. Here is some insight…

Less than 10% of Nantucket land is able to be developed. Most likely, you may be looking at demolishing an existing structure. In this case, there will be labor and land fees associated with demolition. Additionally, it costs $372/ton to bring Construction and Demolish material to Nantucket Landfill. Here is a link to the Public Works department’s list of landfill fees.

Here are some other important questions to ask:

  • Is your property in an area with a high water table?
  • Can you build a foundation?
  • Will you need to waterproof the foundation?
  • Will you need extra pumps?
  • Do you need to mitigate for wetlands?
  • There are always variables.


So now to the assumptions/definition of what we are building so we can target that elusive square foot number. Let’s start with a house with a full basement, 10’ ceilings, egress windows and unfinished space to be finished in the future. Let’s consider a house with a first floor foot print of approximately 2,500 square feet and total above grade finished living space of 4,500 square feet. The home will have 4 en suite bedrooms, each of the baths with 5 fixtures, stone vanities and subway tile. Hardwood floors will be installed throughout the house. It will also have central air conditioning, masonry fireplace, mudroom, laundry room, plaster walls with limited molding or woodwork, a few custom cabinets. The kitchen will have marble/stone counter tops, double pane windows and straightforward exterior trim. Lastly, one deck will be scaled to the house.

We will call this the “standard Nantucket home”. In today’s (summer 2017) construction market this property costs approximately $600 per square foot. This cost to build on Nantucket is up about $100 square foot in the last 18 months.  Joe Paul of BPC Architecture says, “I think $500 per square foot somebody is getting a great deal in this market. I’m telling potential clients to budget $575-$625”. This will include your site work, hook ups for water and sewer or install of a simple septic system. This does NOT include hardscape, landscape, furnishings, design and permitting services.

Now that we have baseline to work with I will try and draw a line on cost per foot construction compared to price point.

Cost to Build on Nantucket

Cost to Build on Nantucket Per Square Foot

Sub $1.5 million –

The least expensive way to build on Nantucket right now is through modular construction. There is one company that is very successful here on island and has an 8 month waiting list. Huntington Homes is from Vermont and the costs on a Huntington Home finished project is going to be about $400/sq.ft. This does not include a lot of customization but does include the site work and finishing.

$1.5 – $3 million –

The home I described above fits into this category of approx. $500/sq.ft.

$3 million – $5 million –

This category of home the finishes are at the top end, the systems are in place; lighting, there is a good amount of additional carpentry – custom closets, molding has a little more detail etc. $600/sq.ft.

$5 – $7 million –

These properties will be in the $650 plus category on replacement costs. In properties at this level we see the wood work and carpentry throughout the entire home, higher end networking and wiring. We also see more complete lighting, audio and media solutions, multiple plumbing areas throughout the property (wet bars, laundry rooms, out door showers, out buildings etc).

So you ask from here what drives costs? Like anything its in the details; woodwork, molding, custom closet build outs, shiplap, stairwell design and construction, choice of floor materials, finish hardware and tile choices, Interior and exterior lighting, smart features, audio systems, heating and plumbing of the foundation itself, dehumidifiers, alarm systems, and extra amenities like wet bars with ice makers.

Hopefully this blog offers you some guidance on what to expect when building on Nantucket as it relates to cost per square foot. As I mentioned, all situations are different and there are a lot of variables. If you are interested in chatting more about your situation, shoot me an email or feel free to call me (508) 414-1878. There are highly qualified individuals offering professional resources here on Nantucket. If you want some direction on where and who to start with please do not hesitate to ask.

Did you miss PART ONE, PART TWO AND PART THREE of our Nantucket construction series? Click here to learn more:




Until next time,
Brian Sullivan