Cost per square foot: a flawed way to measure value

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

When most of us look at a production home builder's furnished model, we ooh and ah about the floor plan (it feels so big and open); the floor finishes (this Brazilian cherry looks almost edible); the beautiful kitchen countertops (my friends will be jealous); room sizes (this bathroom is big enough for 20 of my best friends); and a host of other details. But in the end, it all comes down to price. We want the most space for the least amount of money because, after all, we're a nation of bargain hunters. We don't determine value on price alone, however. The gold standard for assessing value is the cost per square foot. The builder with the lowest figure is the one who offers the best deal. Unfortunately, home buyers' insistence on evaluating quality in cost-per-square-foot terms has had consequences that they don't appreciate, said Ron Jones, editor of Green Builder magazine and a custom home builder for more than 25 years. In a recent interview he elaborated on this point at some leng...