How Much Is a Beach House [2023 Data]?

Typical Range:

$250,000 - $1,050,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated January 30, 2023

Written by HomeAdvisor.

If you’re wondering how much is a beach house, it depends on the location, materials, and labor costs. This type of structure averages around $450,000 for 1,500 square feet, ranging from $250,000 to $1,050,000. If you live in certain coastal regions, a stilted residence will keep you high and dry. Learn more about the essential cost factors for building a beach house.

Average Beach House Costs

Average Cost High Cost Low Cost
$450,000 $1,050,000 $250,000

Build a Beach House Cost by Square Foot

While construction costs vary wildly depending on location, material availability, and labor costs, building a beach house on stilts or pilings generally costs $250 to $350 per square foot. Stilts and pilings are an additional feature that typically raises a beach house 10 feet or more off of the ground. A foundation is also needed and typically takes the form of a pier foundation or stem wall foundation, made up of posts, concrete footings, pressure treat plates, and wood beams.

If you’re budgeting for a project and wondering how much does a beach house cost, the cost of a pier and beam foundation is around $9,000 to $17,500 or $7 to $14 per square foot. This includes $500 to $2,000 per pier. Piers and posts are arranged based on the home’s square footage to support horizontal beams that’ll make up the subfloor. 

A stem wall foundation costs approximately $8,000 to $24,500 or $6 to $18 per square foot. This type of foundation requires additional excavation for digging and securing footings. Builders use stem wall foundations for sloped ground or shifting and frequently flooded terrain so the home can use cemented footings for structural support over a traditional monolithic foundation or basement.

Stilts are typically made up of wood, concrete, or composite. Wood is the least expensive material at $13 to $20 per linear foot, but it’s more vulnerable to long-term weather exposure and will need regular maintenance for optimal longevity. Concrete is more expensive at around $30 to $60 per linear foot and is one of the strongest, most durable materials. Composite pilings made of concrete and steel are one other stilt material option that runs about $25 to $45 per linear foot and meets in the middle on both cost and durability.

Your home size, the terrain it’s built on, and the materials will all impact the stilts’ cost. Many municipalities require that stilts be embedded 20 to 25 feet deep to be structurally sound. You might add another 10 to 20 feet above the ground to clear potential floodwaters or create a usable space for parking cars or building a garage.

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Pre-Build Considerations

Beaches are a prime location, especially on a piece of land that cozies up to the coastline. Whether buying a beach house or looking to build, the prime time to buy is typically at the end of the peak season in the fall, around Labor Day. You’ll want to evaluate zoning for flooding and hurricane risks, how close you are to the water, housing material suitability like roofs and windows, and year-round maintenance requirements.

If you decide to build, you’ll also want to take into account several pre-construction expenses. New construction typically requires permits, which include surveying, licensing, impact fees, and administrative costs that total around 10% of your build cost. You’ll also need to have the property’s land prepared for construction. Clearing and excavation cost around $3,600, depending on the lot size, soil, season, and any additional equipment needed to get the job done.

Finally, your new beach house will require plans that include details of home-building specs. These blueprints or house plans cost around $800 to $2,700. An architect or draftsperson draws up a house plan.

What Influences the Cost of Building a Beach House on Stilts?

Because of their unique zoning and construction considerations, beach houses on stilts have more boxes to check before completion. Each of these steps also comes with an associated cost and can be influenced by building codes, home size, material, and neighborhood. Take into account the following cost factors when adding up stilt house prices. 

Building Codes

Wind, sun, sand, and salt water all add to the coastal appeal, but they also will affect building codes and costs. Because of coastal erosion, proximity to ocean weather events, and other risks, building codes have extra considerations to ensure structurally sound homes. An example of building requirements could be the depth of foundation pilings, which range from 20 to 25 feet below the ground. 

Home Size

Costs pile up quickly with each square foot. Your beach house footprint will impact the total amount of labor and materials needed. In addition, permits and property taxes are likely to increase with the size of the home.


From the ground up, each material choice will impact your project total. Beginning with the stilts, you’ll have to choose the suitable material for your home’s foundation, whether that’s a strong, budget-friendly wood piling or a more expensive, ultra-durable concrete. Roofing, windows, siding, paint, lumber, and appliances are some but not all of the material items that go into the final cost.

Tax Breaks

Depending on your state, you may benefit from tax benefits when it comes to having a second mortgage. You can offset the initial cost of building a beach house with long-term financial incentives like deducting up to $10,000 per year in property taxes on federal income taxes, mortgage interest, and rental income costs. Talk to a trusted financial advisor or accountant when deciding whether your second property will be an investment that offers additional incentives besides an in-demand location. 

Labor Costs to Build a Beach House

Home building requires the expertise of various professionals. At an average cost of $350 per square foot to build, home-building labor costs account for about 30% to 60% of the project total or $100 to $210 per square foot. A custom beach house on stilts will require extra time and effort for a stilt foundation.

In addition, other specialty areas that’ll be included in your build include the following:

  • Framing: $7–$16 per sq. ft.

  • Electrical: $50–$100 per hour

  • Plumbing: $45–$200 per hour

  • Roofing: $5,000–$10,000

  • Painting: $25–$75 per hour

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Beach House Upkeep Costs

Coastal weather variations from sunny days to powerful storms can all take a toll on structures. To keep your beach house in good working order, you’ll need to complete a regular routine of maintenance and preventive care. 

General task categories for this maintenance could include the following:

  • Power washing: $190–$400

  • Siding repair: $300–$1,400

  • Caulking: $250–$400

  • Roof repair: $400–$1,700

  • Window insulation: $1,100–$2,500

  • Priming and painting: $200–$6,000

Cost to Build It Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor

The estimated labor costs on a beach house build are around 30% to 60% of the project total, which can seem like some hefty savings if you choose to tackle some of the home construction tasks yourself. However, due to the more complex nature and massive scale of a home-building project, it’s best to leave this to a professional construction crew and tradespeople. Consider hiring a construction management company near you to ensure the project is on budget and on time. You can offset some costs by handling smaller finishing work projects like painting.

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Is it less expensive to build a beach house on stilts?

From coastal property values to laying a reinforced, flood-ready foundation, building a house on stilts is one of the most expensive home-building options. Increased engineering and material costs are associated with this type of construction and its unique requirements. In addition, you’ll still need to consider essential house-building exterior and interior requirements, such as siding, roofing, flooring, plumbing, and electric, before beginning fixtures and finishes.

Can you build any beach house on stilts?

Beach houses are specialty projects that require the knowledge of professionals like structural engineers. Find a structural engineer near you to iron out details like the home’s footprint, layout, placement, proximity to water, and how it can remain structurally sound and secure with all factors in mind. A structural engineer will also ensure your property meets municipal building codes and can provide you with the reports needed for construction.

What are the advantages of building a beach house on stilts?

The advantages of building a beach house on stilts are, first and foremost, its ability to weather storm-related flooding and high tides. Stilts provide a sturdy structure that can stand strong on sandy ground, which tends to shift, pile, and erode depending on seasonal conditions. Beach houses on stilts also work well for slopes and hills where the property is built into a hill.

Is a beach house expensive?

The cost to build a beach house on stilts is around $165,000 more than the average cost to build a house. Despite the increase in list value, beach homes offer an undeniable quality of life that many feel is worth the higher cost of housing. Elevating the structure and adding stilts is a way to enjoy coastal living while anticipating the type of ground and weather that may pose risks to a ground-level house structure.

Is it worth buying a beach house?

Beach properties are some of the most exclusive dwellings in the world simply on the merit of limited coastal space to build and buy. Not only can it provide a reliable return on investment because of a finite housing inventory, but you can also earn rental income on the property if you choose to have renters during certain seasons or times of the year. Regular maintenance and upkeep can ensure the property holds its value.