To be honest we are not absolutely certain that it is one or the other, or that it is not a combination of both. What we are certain of however is that the cost to build goes up with each new building in-type you add to your town, and the more your town is worth over-all, the more it tends to cost to add to it.
We can completely understand it if a time comes when you decide that you actually want to spend real-world money for Life Points or Social Points in order to buy a premium bit of digital fluff with which you feel your town is not complete without - but if the day ever comes where you seriously consider paying real-world money to purchase Simoleons to use in the game then something has gone seriously wrong.
In simple terms you should NEVER need to do that.
To smooth this out in your mind it may help you to understand the basic economic model used in the process of writing this guide and in creating the in-game economy you are playing under...
The American economist and sociologist Thorstein Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) is widely considered to be the Nostradamus of Economics, being generally recognized as functioning on level or even perhaps slightly smarter than his colleague, British economist and economic philosopher John Maynard Keynes, CB, FBA and also the 1st Baron Keynes (5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946).
Veblen is widely considered to be the leader of the institutional economics movement, whereas Keynes is often called the master of macroeconomics - the significant bit you should take away from that is that these two very smart men established criteria that is still being used today by governments as the rules for modern economic management.
Where Veblen is famous for combining a Darwinian evolutionary perspective as a fusion to his institutional approach to economic analysis, whereas Keynes - in addition to being the most influential economist of the 20th century - spearheaded an approach to economic thinking that was partly aimed at automatically providing full-employment to pretty much the entire national workforce (as long as workers were flexible about wage demands and were willing to bargain over that issue).
According to Keynesian economics there is a demonstrated need in society for government intervention in order to moderate what is usually called the "boom and bust" effect for regular economic intercourse.
The important bit you should take away from this is that the two approaches are not mutually exclusive and each has valid elements not only being demonstrated today in real life but, and this is more to the point, serve as the underpinnings for the economic model used in the game respective of the increases in overall cost for building construction in each of the four classes.
What this all translates to is simple: It really doesn't matter which specific structure you build and in what order because the prices - the basic cost for building them - is not based on the structure itself, but rather on how many of that type or class of structure you have already built.
The valuation is based on the class of the structure - which is why we separate them by Business Class, Home Class, Industry Class, and Community Lot Class - as you can easily see.
A Dilemma of Increased Costs vs. Perceived Value
There is a repeating trend
present in the game based on a formula we just have not figured out yet. This is all purely speculative at this point in our discussion, as the amounts listed below are not the actual costs or price but are an arbitrary set of figures meant to serve as the variables X, Y, and Zed so as to serve as examples only:.. Bear that in mind please.
Class-Based Sliding Scales
This sliding scale represents a wide number of complicated effects from wages and materials to inflation and those hidden but dirty expenses that fall under the common heading otherwise known as "Filthy Lucre" if this were a Humphrey Bogart film:
- Business 1: $10,000 and X Number of Sims.
- Business 2: $25,000 and X Number of Sims.
- Business 3: $50,000 and X Number of Sims.
- Business 4: $100,000 and X Number of Sims.
- House 1: $500 and X Number of Sims.
- House 2: $1,500 and X Number of Sims.
- House 3: $5,000 and X Number of Sims.
- House 4: $15,000 and X Number of Sims.
- Industry 1: $5000 and X Number of Sims.
- Industry 2: $2500 and X Number of Sims.
- Industry 3: $50,000 and X Number of Sims.
- Industry 4: $100,000 and X Number of Sims.
Get used to the notion that it is reasonable in economic terms to reach a point at which you cheerfully anticipate spending upwards of $500K to build just one more of that type -- no matter how complicated or simple the architecture is and regardless of how large the building is.
Those are circumstances that would never materialize in the real-world, and yet we find them to be the operative and controlling scheme in the game world, the idea being of course that, by the time you reach that level of expense you also have improved your town and population to the point that the costs -- while they are never (NEVER) going to get easier to manage -- are not quite as onerous as they might be.
Certainly the challenge of meeting those costs should never reach a point where you feel like you are totally justified in spending real-world money to buy in-game money (Simoleons).
A Magic Formula
If you ever reach a point in the game where your ability to save money (Simoleons OR LP/SP) over the course of a given week (arbitrarily that means seven complete 24-hour days during which your entire workforce is fully and gainfully employed.
Basically we are taking 7-full-days of income-producing Sim Actions -- a block of time equal to 168 hours -- during which your workers (meaning the population of your Town as well as the passive income sources like taxes, the check that comes in the mail, and all that) should easily cover the expenses of building your two most expensive "next" structures on your personal building s list .
So if you reach the point in the game where the value of a week of work (the creation of a week's worth of GDP) is not sufficient to cover the costs of constructing the two most expensive building projects in your game and at your level, there is something wrong.
The question of what exactly triggers the increased costs for building in each of the four categories -- Homes, Businesses, Industry, and Community Lots -- is not entirely an agreed upon thing. Some gamers believe that it is connected to the number of each structure type you have already in your town while others believe that the valuation is based exclusively on the Level of your Town.