Hawaii Tops the Charts as the Most Expensive Place to Build an Ultra High End Beach House

NEW YORK, July 2, 2012 - As the luxury real estate market continues to recover at an accelerating pace, Chris Pollack, Ltd., a high-end real estate development advisory and owner's representative firm, has released its first study of the most cost-effective places to build a luxury summer home.

The study examined ten of the top summer vacation destinations in the United States for the high net-worth set, comparing the costs to build a summer home on a per square foot basis.  According to the study, Hawaii tops the list at nearly a whopping $1,300 per square foot while Kiawah Island, South Carolina comes in at the most cost effective at under $585 per square foot.

"Our study provides the high-net-worth individual with a unique window into what it actually costs to build second or summer home in some of the most desirable locations in America," saidChris Pollack, founder and President of Chris Pollack, Ltd. "In compiling this data we looked at not just construction costs, but overall project costs as well, which includes everything from building materials, architectural and consultant fees and even permitting, adding to the square footage cost by an average of 30 percent."

Pollack continued, "High-net-worth buyers should be aware that not only do land prices vary from location to location, but so do construction and consultant costs.

The most fungible, and manageable costs are professional services and labor and each market is different.  Nantucket is more expensive than Cape Cod, for example, because of the need to transport materials to the island and import labor force and specialty contractors required to build a home."

City, State Construction (Per Sq Ft) Project Cost (Per Sq Ft)
Hawaii $950 $1,300
Malibu, CA $900 $1,170
Palm Beach, FL $850 $1,105
Hamptons, NY $850 $1,105
Caribbean $800 $1,040
Miami, FL $750 $975
Nantucket, MA $750 $975
Cape Cod, MA $500 $650
Lake Geneva, WI $475 $618
Kiawah Island, SC $450 $585

A key finding in the Pollack study was that while labor costs have increased an average of 13.8 percent in these select markets from 2007, the impact of "value engineering" has actually lowered overall costs by as much as 30 percent.  Value engineering allows owners representatives, architects and builders to make design and construction recommendations based on the ratio of function to the time-cost benefits.

"Project teams have put an emphasis on value engineering in a tighter economy and have come up with solutions such as using PEX tubing in place of copper, or a blend of traditional fiber glass insulation and spray foam due to the significant cost savings for our clients," Pollack continued. "These material choices render some functional differences, but maintain the quality products high-end clientele desire, and deliver a cost savings in the 20-30 percent range. When working on a multi-million dollar project, it's the detailed choices that can be truly impactful."

Additionally, by taking advantage of tax incentive programs and utilizing green building products such as geothermal heating systems, Chris Pollack, Ltd.'s clients have been able to achieve maximum savings and reduce future operating costs while making investments towards environmentally friendly homes.
Pollack concluded, "Our summer home analysis provides a spot look at the high-end market, keeping clients abreast of the best locations based on an equalizing per square foot costs and will be the first of our seasonal analyses to come."

Chris Pollack, Ltd.
Chris Pollack, Ltd. ( is a full-service, boutique advisory and management firm for global, high-end residential and commercial real estate projects. Chris Pollack, President of Chris Pollack, Ltd. provides end-to-end real estate development services, acting as the owner's representative and executive project manager. In its twelve year history, the firm has completed 50 projects totaling over 350 million, across the globe in locations including:  New York City, Los Angeles, The Hamptons, Greenwich, Conn., Nantucket, Mass., London and the Caribbean.