How Much Does It Cost To Build A Duplex & Fourplex In California?    

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The thought of building a house in California could be slightly stressful for you, especially if it’s your first personal home or you’re about to start up a real estate investment. On the one hand, a Duplex is a residential building with two separate units. On the other hand, a Fourplex is a structure that houses four different apartments. As a homeowner looking forward to erecting a Duplex or Fourplex structure, the foremost question in your mind will be how much the cost is.

However, there is more to just using the factors as a yardstick to determine the price. This article explains everything you need to know about the cost of building a Duplex & Fourplex in California. Asides from that, we’ve also highlighted the pros and cons of each structure to enable you to choose a durable option that will work best for you.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Duplex In California?

The cost of erecting a Duplex or Fourplex structure depends on the types, land cost, construction styles, materials, square footage, and location. When you add all these factors together, the average price to build a Duplex is $285,000, while the average cost for a Fourplex is $570,000.

To know how much it costs to build a Duplex in California, you don’t just begin to calculate the price by estimation. The average price is usually $285,000, but if the features and construction style get too complex and require more craft, the price will rise to $1,100,000. 

Aside from the necessary cost of building a Duplex, individual preference also determines the expense. For instance, adding extra furnishings and amenities like a swimming pool and lounge to your duplex increases the expenditures.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Fourplex In California?

The cost of building a Fourplex in California depends on the features of the building. It also depends on the construction style you prefer. The average is usually $570,000. However, if the square footage measurement is high or the building requires additional furnishings, the price will rise to $1,327,000. 

However, if you want to build a simple fourplex apartment with no extra furnishings, you can get a low budget of $190,000.

Cost Factors To Consider When Building A Duplex Or Fourplex In California

1. Building Type

The single-story is one of the most popular types of structure for a Duplex and Fourplex. It is also known as the ground building. It has units on the same sides but is kept separate by a wall in the middle. Another type of structure is known as stacked. In this structure, each unit is on top of the other. 

The third type of structure is known as the two-story building(standard). It contains two separate units that share the same center.   

2. Land Cost

The land is one of the expenses you must consider when you want to build a Duplex or Fourplex. Asides from the land size that determines the type of structure, it also adds value to the property. 

3. Construction Styles

Another factor that determines the cost of your Duplex or Fourplex is the construction style. The construction style differs, and it solely depends on your preference. But then, each has a different cost.

4. Materials And Labor

The materials required for constructing a Duplex or Fourplex depend on the type and construction style. Once you’ve figured that out, you’ll know the number of materials needed. For the labor expenses, the bigger the workload, the higher the labor price. Some of the materials you’ll need are wood, zinc, sand trips, paint, electricity and plumbing tools, etc. 

5. Square Footage

The space that covers the chosen building area is known as the square footage. To determine the square footage of the land you want to build your Duplex or Fourplex, calculate the length and breadth of the land, then multiply the two results to determine the footage.

Each building specification depends on the square footage. The average cost of a Duplex and Fourplex per square footage is $95 to $220. Other considerations include; Location, budget, and conducting a property analysis around your location.

Is A Duplex Cheaper To Build?

Considering the cost and construction styles, a Duplex is cheaper to build than a Fourplex. The reason is that both units are on the same plot of land and share the same roof and wall. This shared nature makes it easier for the owner to manage maintenance and reduce costs.

Asides from a Duplex being cheaper to build, you can also earn from it. Here are a few ways you can get it done;

  • Live in one unit and turn the other into a rental property. With this, you can gradually gain back the amount you spent to build it.
  • You can also make it a place where people who visit from a long distance get to relax.
  • If you’re not the owner, you can negotiate with the owner to get paid for taking care of the property.
  • Provide social amenities like a swimming pool, gym, and lounge for occupants within and outside. 
  • Ensure your licenses are legal to avoid harassment or confiscation of property.

Duplex Vs Fourplex 

The Duplex and Fourplex are great home choices because they offer the value most single apartments cannot. However, both structures have differences, similarities, pros, and cons.

Here are a few differences and similarities between a Duplex and a Fourplex

  1. A Duplex has two units, while a Fourplex has four.
  2. A Fourplex houses more people and has a larger space than a Duplex.
  3. There are only two entrances to a Fourplex building. These two entry point makes it more sharable than a Duplex.
  4. Both structures have the exact square footage.
  5. Both structures generate income and offer long-term value.

Duplex – Pros

  1. A Duplex is a multi-house that two people can own – each person to a unit.
  2. It has more rooms that offer more space.
  3. It allows you to enjoy privacy.
  4. Owning a Duplex allows you to enjoy cash flow because it has resale value and appreciates quickly. For instance, you can decide to live in one unit and rent the other to someone else.
  5. A Duplex is cheaper to build and reduces costs.


  1. The noise from the other unit can be disturbing.
  2. In the Duplex, the neighbors share many utilities like the staircase, pool, garden, and driveway. If you have a stubborn neighbor, it made be challenging to get him to contribute to the repairs of these utilities if they develop a fault.
  3. A Duplex usually has more utilities, and maintaining them requires a high cost.
  4. As a Duplex owner, you’ll likely have issues when trying to resell your Duplex. 
  5. The rate for property insurance policies is always high. 
  6. A Duplex appreciates, but it does so at a slow pace.

Fourplex – Pros

  1. A Fourplex is a high rental structure that allows you the opportunity to generate income through renting. 
  2. It doesn’t depreciate fast.
  3. A Fourplex is easy to manage.
  4. It allows you the opportunity to have a stable source of investment.
  5. Fourplex owners are entitled to enjoy tax breaks.
  6. It gives room for a higher vacancy rate.
  7. It contains a larger space for dwellers.
  8. A Fourplex is a good choice for people who have large families.


  1. If your next-door neighbors are untidy, pests like rats and cockroaches will dwell there, and if you’re not careful, they’ll spread into your unit.
  2. Closeness to neighbors may likely cause a noise disturbance.
  3. In a Fourplex, you share almost all the amenities and lack privacy.
  4. Maintenance may be tiring due to the many rooms it contains. This high cost occurs if you’re yet to rent it out.

Do A Duplex And Fourplex Have Land Value In California?

A Duplex and Fourplex have land value in California. The reason is that both structures are independent and generate long-term income. Asides from helping you generate revenue, the facilities require fewer resources for management once the building is in rent.

Investors tend to evaluate a Duplex and Fourplex in the same way they value other apartments. Both rental expenses are determined using the Net Operating Income. Regardless, it is necessary to understand that the durability of a building depends on the quality of the construction and maintenance.

Wrap Up – How Much Does It Cost To Build A Duplex And Fourplex In California

Certain factors determine the cost of a duplex and fourplex in California. Before you decide on the type of structure to build in California, you need to consider the specific factors of each and then weigh them to decide on the one that best suits your pocket size.

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