Average building cost is $354 per sf
New York City isn’t just the most expensive place to build in the world — it’s also one of the most “overstretched” in terms of skilled construction workers available, according to a new report.
The average cost of building in the city was $354 per square foot last year, making it the most expensive in the world, according to Turner & Townsend’s 2017 report on international construction. The city beat out Zurich for the top spot, where the average cost was $328 per square foot. Zurich was the most expensive city to build in 2015. (The averages combine residential high-rises, office, schools, hospitals and shopping centers.) Construction costs are expected to grow by 3.5 percent in the next year.
The high cost of construction can largely be attributed to labor and materials. The city was second only to Zurich when it came to average hourly wages for construction workers, which came in at just under $100 per hour. The report does not, however, differentiate between union and nonunion laborers, which is often cited as a determining factor for rates. Nonunion labor is widely considered the less expensive option.