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What Is The Cheapest Type Of House To Build?

$75 - $325
average cost per square foot
$25,000 - $65,000
cheapest type of house to build cost average
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Key Takeaways

  • The average cost to build the cheapest type of house ranges from $75 to $275 per square foot.
  • Pole barn houses, barndominiums, and modular homes are typically the most affordable options
  • Tiny houses and shipping container homes are on the higher end of the price range.

Cheapest Type Of House To Build Per Square Foot

Type of HouseAverage Cost Per Square Foot
Pole barn house$50 – $150
Barndominium$65 – $160
Modular home$80 – $160
A-frame house$100 – $300
Shipping container home$150 – $350
Tiny house$150 – $450
One-story ranch home$100 – $200

Pole Barn House

A pole barn house is a residential home built using post-frame construction techniques. The average cost is $50 to $150 per square foot, making it one of the most affordable options. Pole barn homes are energy-efficient, durable, and can be built quickly.


A barndominium is a metal building that combines living quarters with a shop, garage, or workspace. The average cost is $65 to $160 per square foot. Barndominiums are low-maintenance, customizable, and can be built faster than traditional homes.

Modular Home

Modular homes are built in sections in a factory and then assembled on-site. The average cost is $80 to $160 per square foot. Modular construction is more efficient and results in a higher-quality, more energy-efficient home compared to site-built homes.

A-Frame House

An A-frame house has a steeply pitched roof that extends down to the foundation, creating an A-shaped frame. The average cost is $100 to $300 per square foot. A-frame homes are simple to construct, energy-efficient, and work well in snowy climates.

Shipping Container Home

A shipping container home is built using recycled steel shipping containers as the primary structure. The average cost is $150 to $350 per square foot. Container homes are eco-friendly, durable, and can be stacked to create multi-story dwellings.

Tiny House

A tiny house is a small home, typically under 600 square feet, that can be built on wheels or a permanent foundation. The average cost is $150 to $450 per square foot. Tiny homes are energy-efficient, low-maintenance, and offer a simpler lifestyle.

One-Story Ranch House

A one-story ranch house is a single-level home with an open floor plan and low-pitched roof. The average cost is $100 to $200 per square foot. Ranch homes are easier to build, more accessible, and tend to have lower maintenance and utility costs.

How To Save Money On Building A House

  • Choose a smaller, simpler floor plan
  • Use cost-effective building materials like concrete, metal, or engineered wood
  • Consider alternative construction methods like prefab or modular
  • Do some of the work yourself, such as painting or landscaping
  • Shop around for the best prices on materials and labor
  • Avoid expensive finishes and upgrades that don’t add much value
  • Work with an experienced builder who can help you stick to your budget

FAQs About The Cheapest Type Of House To Build

What Is The Cheapest Type Of House To Build?

Pole barn houses and metal barndominiums are typically the cheapest type of house to build, with average costs of $50 to $160 per square foot. Modular homes are also affordable at $80 to $160 per square foot.

What Are The Cheapest Building Materials To Use?

The cheapest building materials include concrete, metal, engineered wood, and reclaimed or recycled materials. Avoid expensive natural stone, hardwood, and high-end finishes to keep costs down.

Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A House?

It depends on various factors such as location, size, materials, and current market conditions. In some cases, building a house can be cheaper than buying an existing home, especially if you opt for a smaller, simpler design and do some of the work yourself. However, buying a house is often more convenient and less time-consuming.

Getting Estimates From Home Builders

Before starting your home building project, get detailed estimates from several reputable builders in your area. Look for experienced professionals who specialize in the type of home you want to build. Ask for references and examples of similar projects they’ve completed.

Questions To Ask A Home Builder

  • How long have you been building homes?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can you provide references from past clients?
  • What is your process for estimating costs and sticking to a budget?
  • How do you handle change orders or unexpected issues during construction?
  • What is the typical timeline for completing a project like mine?
  • Do you offer any guarantees or warranties on your work?
  • How often will I receive updates on the progress of my home?
  • What are the potential risks or challenges with my specific project?
  • Can you help me find ways to save money without sacrificing quality?

Building the cheapest type of house requires careful planning and working with the right professionals. By considering alternative construction methods, choosing affordable materials, and being willing to compromise on size and finishes, you can build a quality home that fits your budget. To get started, get free estimates from home builders near you.

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