Building Costs and Rents

The amount of rent you pay for a housing unit is dependent on many things:

• The desirability of the neighborhood, urban or rural, and what part of the country

• The quality of construction and materials used

• The size (square footage) of the unit

• The type of housing unit (house, ADU, apartment)

• The market: if there is high demand, the price and rent may be determined more by the market than buildimg cost

As a landlord, the minimum you could rent an apartment for would be whatever is enough to cover maintenance costs and a mortgage for building costs, plus a modest profit. This usually works out to rent being 1% of the building cost. So, to find the minimum rent for each housing type, we'll use 1% of building cost on the table below, even though a tight market could drive rents higher.

This table that assumes mid-range materials are used. Land, design and permit costs are not included. All costs are averages. Yellow headers with links to the sources of these prices are shown above each list of estimates. 

Monthly rent depends mostly on the amount of square footage, which determined by average square footage of each housing type.

• The less square footage in a structure, the more per square foot it costs. For instance the per-square-foot costs of ADUs and Tiny Houses are more than for all other forms of housing.

• BUT ADU and Tiny House square footage is very small, so allows for more-affordable rents/prices.

Remember that 40% of Olympia renters can’t afford more than $1100 per month. Olympia costs are 97% of national average.

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