Not necessarily, a new home has far more fees associated with it than remodels because of development fees. These development fees are not charged each time that an alteration is made. Building permit fees are based on the value (construction costs including materials and typical labor costs) of the work to be done. As an example, an alteration with a value of $10,000 would have a building permit fee (including plan review) of around $225.
Each person will have a different view of what is and is not expensive; however, a few hundred dollars now may save thousands in the future. Other permits such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical (heating and cooling) have fees based on the number and type of installations.