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  • Writer's pictureMariel Megan Ross

What’s cheaper? Building a new home or buying a resale in Sterling Ranch?

Sterling Ranch's community center is home to retail and other tenants (picture from 2018)

If you’re interested in living in Littleton's Sterling Ranch neighborhood, you have options.

Resale home in one of the more established villages in the community?

Or a brand new home in Ascent Village or Prospect Village? There are pros/cons associated with both options. But let’s talk about the question you really want to ask:

What’s cheaper?

I get this question all the time from our friends and clients. Parkwood, Lennar, Brookfield, Richmond, Dream Finders, and Taylor Morrison are currently selling lots, as well as completed new single family homes and townhomes. So let’s talk about new home pricing.

Mariel in a Taylor Morrison in Sterling Ranch

The pricing of resale homes is easy enough, but new construction pricing can be challenging.

If you’ve chatted with a builder’s sales representative, you’ve probably been able to get a very general ballpark price estimate of what their homes actually cost. But how much does building a brand new home with a builder *really* cost?

Homebuilders often market their new homes using just the base price. A builder website might say: “Starting in the low $500,000s.” Or perhaps you’ve seen: “Priced from $600,000.” The final, all-in price of a new home can often be $100k+ more than what’s advertised.

Here’s generally how to price out a new construction home:

(1) base cost for your floorplan

+ (2) lot premium

+ (3) structural and design upgrades

– (4) lender and other incentives

= All-in home cost. The problem? While your real estate broker can get you some of this information, unfortunately (3) is often unknown – even for the builders.

A framed home in Sterling Ranch

Before you sign your contract and start the new construction process, your builder doesn’t know which structural upgrades you might fall in love with, and they certainly don’t know what you’re going to pick at the design center months after you’re under contract. Perhaps you’ll spend $30,000 on structural upgrades and design center costs. Or maybe you’ll spend $100,000. Ultimately, new home pricing is TBD. So how do we answer our original question – which is cheaper?

Until recently, based on helping hundreds of clients buy and build in Sterling Ranch and similar new home communities in the Denver metro (Central Park, the Canyons, Solstice, Backcountry, Painted Prairie, and more), and speaking very generally and knowing there are many exceptions, I can say that for our clients who built the past few years, new construction tended to be slightly discounted relative to resale home pricing for the same builder, model, finishes, and amenities.

I used to call this the “patience discount.” Sterling Ranch's builders had hundreds of lots to sell. Construction times always vary, but a 6-18 month wait time for a new home can be a long time to wait. Or you could purchase a resale and close in about 30 days.

So the builders had two disadvantages – a lot of inventory and longer wait times. Not always, but this often translated into lower pricing for a new home.

Future park in Prospect Village

How about today?

Oh how things have changed! For new construction, Providence Village is effectively done and Ascent is selling fast. The next village, Prospect, isn't online yet. So while there are lots and move-in ready homes available, there aren't as many as there once were.

Meanwhile, resale home inventory is exceptionally low around the Denver metro, including Littleton. So there's a similar lack-of-supply issue with resales which has driven home prices to record highs. (Check out But really ... how's the Sterling Ranch real estate market doing? if you'd like to learn more about our resale market) We’ll have to see how new home and resale pricing trends in the new year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon hit a sort of equilibrium, where there’s so much demand for any type of housing and so few options that both resales and new homes are roughly the same price for the same product/upgrades/amenities.

Living room in a Parkwood in Sterling Ranch

You’ll need to dig in more than ever with your broker to figure out what the best option is for you, but I think it’s becoming safe to say the new construction “patience discount” in Sterling Ranch these days is going away as new homes and resale pricing trend up, at least until Prospect Village starts selling lots.

Here at Focus, your Sterling Ranch brokerage, we’ve helped over 150+ of our wonderful clients budget for, design, and build homes around the Denver metro. We’re also a full service brokerage that lists and markets homes for a 1.5% listing commission and have helped hundreds of resale sellers and buyers, including in Sterling Ranch.

If you’re thinking about building a home, I’d love to chat and walk you through the costs and process! or shoot one of or other brokers - Joe Phillips, Amy Atkinson, Ashley Faller, Lisa Palladino, Kailee Ackerman, Stacy Grissom, or Whitney Barnett an email if you’d like more information.

Mariel Ross is a realtor who specializes in helping clients budget for, design, and build their dream homes or find the resale of their dreams.

At Focus Real Estate we've helped clients build hundreds of new homes around Denver with Lennar, Parkwood, Richmond, Wonderland, Shea, and many other builders. We've also listed many beautiful homes and represented buyers throughout Denver on resales.

Learn more about what I do here, as well as the cost. In short, if you build in Sterling Ranch or just about every other new neighborhood in Denver your builder pays your realtor, not you, so our services are at no additional cost to you - which is how we're able to offer our free New Home Package.

If you'd like to chat, shoot me a note at and be sure to "Like" the Roundup on Facebook.

The Sterling Ranch Roundup is powered by Focus Real Estate. We list and sell homes in Denver for a 1.5% listing commission.

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