We wouldn’t necessarily want to (or be able to) copy the Levittown model today. But we can learn some things from how costs were managed: quickly build a large number of fairly similar buildings using economical materials and labor. The New England triple decker and the west coast craftsman bungalow are earlier example of a similar approach. In contrast, notice how today every new residential building is a unique creation delicately guided through the approvals, design, and construction process. Bespoke process? Expect bespoke prices!
A longer discussion of the rising cost of residential construction merits its own, separate article, but increasing costs can be attributed to a combination of rising materials costs, rising labor costs, increasing quality (more insulation, A/C, etc.), and increasing building code requirements.
Ok, so we have a handle on what factors influence a building’s costs. But how does that relate to the price you might have to pay to buy it or rent it? Not as much as you might think! At least, not at first.
The price of a dwelling (largely) comes from a different set of factors, which we’ll explore in part two of this series.