As a Realtor I am frequently asked about square footage cost of building coastal homes. Often buyers compare the cost of buying an existing home to the cost of buying a lot and building their dream home on it.
Coastal areas are generally more expensive to build in because of stricter building codes, but even more impactful are the features built in to the home and how the cost is calculated. When someone says " I built my home for $110 per square foot" and you are standing in their stainless and granite gourmet kitchen with a fireplace and 12' bay window in it, it might be worth asking how that was calculated!
Some important distinctions are heated and cooled space vs. decks and porches, open underhouse vs. partially or fully enclosed, high end building materials vs. average, and then there are the architectual features like roof angles, window sizing and frequency, and wall configuarations.
When a square footage cost is listed in a home description two immediate things to question are whether the number includes the land cost and whether the enclosed areas are accounted for seperately from the open areas.
It pays to dig into square footage cost a little just to make sure oranges aren't being compared to apples!