6 Of The Best Places To Build A Barndominium (City/State Guide)

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Barndominiums are quickly becoming one of the most popular new build options for homeowners in the United States.

That makes sense, considering you can often shave as much as 30% of the build time and therefore 30% of the build costs off your project. That’s without sacrificing anything about your home and while adding to durability and decreasing maintenance.

But, many areas still don’t see them as traditional housing, which means you can have trouble building them in some places. 

So, where are people building barndominiums? Pretty much everywhere! Still, the American South is where it’s at for barndominiums.

Flat, dry land means you can quickly build a slab foundation without being concerned about crawl spaces, flood leeway, or earthquake prevention. And, that makes the barndominium a fast, affordable, and durable alternative to traditional homes.

Still, you can put a barndo in just about anywhere. The following includes some of the best places to build a barndominium in the United States. 

1. Austin, TX

Austin, Texas is one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, with a population of almost 1 million. It also covers over 326 square miles.

The local average cost of building a traditional home is also somewhere around $350 per square foot, making it one of the most expensive places in the country to build with stick-frame wood. That’s often because everything has to be imported – and you’ll pay a lot extra for that.

Barndominiums are a cheaper and faster option – although you’ll pay around $120-$150 per square foot for a building kit, about $160-$200 for steel I-beam, and up to $300 for red steel. This means it’s still not as cheap as many other places in the country. 

On the other hand, Austin is a bustling and growing city with plenty of job opportunities and amenities.

The eastern part of the city is flat and primarily clay. This means you can easily build on nothing but a slab foundation. In addition, you’ll have minimal land prep costs.

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On the other hand, the eastern half of the city consists of rolling hills, so you’ll expect to spend more on excavation and land preparation. 

Austin is an extremely popular place to build barndominiums. Provided you follow Housing Association Agreement (HOA) regulations for the area you’re building in, you’ll also have almost complete freedom with your build.

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And, with dozens of local barndo builders, there are plenty of options to choose from for builders. 

2. Fairmont, WV 

Fairmont, West Virginia – as well as the surrounding Marion County – is one of the most popular places to build a barndominium in the United States. In fact, Marion County has over a dozen builders to choose from – as well as multiple metal building kit suppliers.

Fairmont is a mid-size city with just over 18,000 residents. That makes it ideal if you want a rural home with privacy and plenty of space for property without giving up on having nearby shopping and entertainment. 

Fairmont is also a relatively expensive place to build a new home. On average, you can expect to pay $150-$300 per square foot for a new build home. Metal building kits or barndominiums drop that down to about $120 per square foot on average. 

Here, it’s also important to note that if you’re building outside of city limits, you can opt for a wooden pole barn barndominium. These reduce costs even further. However, Fairmont does have restrictions on using them as a primary residence inside the city. 

Fairmont itself is also one of the flattest areas in West Virginia. That makes it easier to get away with nothing but foundation piers or a slab foundation. However, you’ll want to talk to your builder about either before going with it. 

Plus, with picturesque views, Fairmont is a great place to build your dream barndominium. That’s true whether you want a quiet and rural life, a farm, or even if you want to live as close to the city and urban life as possible. 

3. Edmond, OK

Edmond, Oklahoma is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. However, it’s small enough that you can typically build a barndominium with no real issues. In addition, it is home to multiple builders based right in the city.

Edmond has a population of just under 100,000 people. It’s also situated in a flat region between Arcadia Lake and Oklahoma City. The region is famous for its beautiful rolling hills, blackjack oak, and post oak.

It’s also flat enough to build on easily and you can typically get away with nothing more than a slab foundation. 

However, Edmond is in a tornado region.

One of the reasons why barndominiums are so popular in the state of Oklahoma is that you can more easily purchase them to better withstand high winds and extreme weather damage. This means you’ll want to pay close attention to the wind rating on your barndominium kit. 

Otherwise, Edmond offers everything from beautiful views to your choice of urban or rural landscape. You’ll also be able to choose between a pole barn or a metal building kit, as both are suitable for the area. However, if you opt for the pole barn, you’ll want to build outside of city limits. 

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Here, you can expect to spend about $130 per square foot for a traditional home and about $90 per square foot for a barndominium. 

4. Springfield, MO

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to live, Missouri is a great choice. The state is famous for its rolling hills and mountains, beautiful trees, and its many lakes. It’s also extremely popular as a site to build barndominiums.

;However, depending on the land you choose, you might need significant site prep to put a barndominium on it. Missouri’s soil is hard and rocky, and if you have an elevation on your property, it will cost a lot to have it excavated.

Otherwise, this is a great place to build and the charm of the barndo fits well into the picturesque landscape. 

It’s also an extremely popular place to build barndominiums. In fact, there are so many and they are so in demand that you can purchase a barndominium already built on your property rather than custom building your own.

As a result, there are over a dozen local builders to choose from, which means you can have almost anything you want built or simply have a building kit constructed for you. 

Springfield also has famously low construction costs. In fact, you can expect a home to cost about $90-$190 per square foot for a traditional stick build.

On the other hand, a barndo can drop to as little as $60 per square foot – although that will heavily depend on your interior finishing and material choices. That makes this one of the cheapest places in the country to build a barndominium. 

5. Tuscaloosa, AL

Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a mid-size city situated between Lake Tuscaloosa and the Black Warrior River. The large majority of the southwest of the city is a flat plain while the northeast features heavily forested hills. Both are ideal for barndominiums – although you’ll need to take care with the foundation in either case. 

However, Alabama is one of the most popular states for building barndominiums. Tuscaloosa is also popular for new build homes because it offers rural views with easy access to entertainment. Birmingham is less than 60 miles away by car. 

The average cost to build a new home in Tuscaloosa is $190 per square foot. If you opt for a metal building kit, that can drop to $95-$125 per square foot. However, if you go with a custom red iron, you’ll probably pay around $160.

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This means that opting for a barndominium greatly reduces the cost of building a home in Tuscaloosa.

Barndos also fit well into the home style and charm of the region, making them a great choice even if you’re looking to move to Tuscaloosa and not expressly to build a barndo. 

6. Greenville, SC 

South Carolina is easily one of the most popular places to build a barndominium in the United States. It’s also a great mix of beautiful nature, plenty of things to do, and a bustling city.

Building just outside of city limits gives you access to everything, including nature, stunning waterways, and entertainment. It’s those amenities that make Greenville the “rolling green village” one of the most popular retirement towns in the United States. 

However, most of Greenville is regulated under HOAs. This means you’ll have to consider how your building fits into the landscape and the city’s vision for its neighborhoods.

This isn’t a great place for a fast and cheap barn converted into a home. However, it is a great place if you want a picturesque and stylish barn home that looks as good on the outside as the inside.

Chances are high, however, that you’ll need a more expensive foundation or significant excavation work. 

You can expect to pay about $150-$240 for a new build stick-built home. On the other hand, barndominiums can run from about $75 to about $190. Everything else depends on the land, the specific building materials you choose, and which neighborhood you build in.

Otherwise, this is a top choice for people retiring or who want to move away from the busy city to somewhere more quiet and beautiful. 

Where Will You Build? 

Barndominiums are popular across much of the United States. However, southern states are the most popular place to build them.

That’s often because the combination of cheap labor, ease of building slab foundations, and wide open and flat expanses of land make them extremely cost-effective to build in the south.

Today, Texas, with its wide open spaces and flat land is the most popular state to build a barndominium. However, you can build a barndo in pretty much every state – you just might need steps like an actual foundation depending on your location. 

Of course, most barndominiums are built outside of city limits. On the other hand, your city might be open to having a barndominium built in the city. You’ll just have to check local regulations. 

So, where will you build?

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