Are building costs rising?  How much per square foot do people expect to spend on new construction?  

The Park City and Deer Valley real estate market has become more competitive for buyers in the last few years.  When faced with limited choices of existing homes, building a new home can sometimes be a good option.  As a Park City Realtor, my clients sometimes ask:  Is there more value in purchasing an existing home, or vacant lot and building a new home?  I am also asked about the approximate costs to build a home in Park City and Deer Valley.  

The decision making process is difficult- and even if, on paper, there appears to be value in building, there are certainly many other issues to consider.  I'm not a contractor, and when clients ask about building, I turn to experienced, licensed contractors for guidance.  

I recently sat down with Jamie Catley, owner of Kent Construction in Park City, and asked him a few quick questions about building a home in Park City.  Jamie is a well respected and experienced Park City home builder.  Kent Construction was established in 1996,  and offers design and building services in Deer Valley and Park City (please see additional information for Kent Construction below):  

Building costs per square foot:...what is the lower end, medium and high end? 

Jamie:   I would say the low end, for Park City new construction is going from about $230-$270 ft (think homes with basic finishes) ….mid range $270-$325 ft ….higher end residential in Park City $325-$375 and Deer Valley high end is at $375 and up.

How much have costs gone up during the past couple of years?  

Jamie:  Materials have risen about 10% in the past two years and labor 15-20% in the same time period.

Do you expect them to continue to rise?  

Jamie:  I believe that we are probably going to see a plateau if real estate prices settle down. If they continue to rise, material costs will stay stable but labor costs will go up, especially for the higher end products that require excellent quality and skills. 

What is the biggest mistake in selecting a builder that people make or should avoid making?

Jamie:  It still astounds me that buyers of building services will spend more time picking out socks in the morning than vetting potential contractors.  Why do lousy contractors stay in business and seem to have more work than anyone else?  Its because there are plenty of folks who get seduced by a low price and proposal, and don’t properly screen potential builders.  Always check recent references, talk to architects, designers, subcontractors, etc.- every company out there has a reputation, find out what it is.  And as I always say, a project can only be assessed after its done, not based on a bid or proposal.  As contractors, we all pay the same for materials and labor (generally) so it really comes down to who you think will provide the services you are looking for…..some like touchy feely, some like all business…it varies.

Current design trends- contemporary, traditional?  

Jamie:  I believe we will start transitioning back to a more traditional design look.   I think all the flat roofs and tilted windows will show their age soon enough, and people will look for more timeless design features…

Timeline for building- planning, construction, so on?  

Jamie:  5000 sq ft home,  plan on six months minimum for architect, design, submission etc….12 to 16 months to build.

About Kent Construction:

Kent Construction builds and renovates luxury residences in the resort community of Park City, Utah. As a premier custom builder, Kent Construction limits the number of projects to a select few each year. This allows us to provide hands-on management of each project, guarantee the superior quality of our homes, as well as provide a level of service unmatched in the market.

Owners, Jamie and Cheryl Catley have made Utah their home since 1991. Jamie started his construction career in Vancouver, Canada in the residential remodeling business. In New York City, he supervised co-op and condominium conversions. After a weekend visit that never ended, Park City became the birthplace of Kent Construction.

Jamie manages all projects with an eye for detail and a passion for design that not many builders could begin to offer. Along with a team of professionals, he is also responsible for sales, client relations, subcontractor management, estimating, scheduling, and project production.  Cheryl joined Kent Construction in 1997. With a B.S. from Boston College and a background in retail management, Cheryl brings big business principles to a boutique custom builder. She directs the marketing, risk management, human resources and financial operations of the company.

Please visit Kent Construction online at:

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