My father was a general contractor and I started helping him build houses when I was 12. Even today I can look at a house and see the entire skeleton - plumbing, wiring, everything.
I have never been impressed by modern houses. The way they are built was fine before 1973, when yearly income stopped going up. But today, anyone who buys a house had better make a lot of money. If you look at what a house really costs, over a 30-year mortgage...you will be shocked.
When I was 11 years old we lived in a two-story farmhouse with a huge front yard and several oak trees. The rent was $60 a month. This was in '68. It's since been torn down to make room for a suburb.
If I really wanted to, I could build a halfway-decent rural shack for $500.
These days, strawbale houses are pretty popular. That's a good thing, because compared to regular houses they are cheap.
I know some people who live in trailers, usually around lakes. They've extended them with cheap built-on additions. Their cost of living is minimal.
Others have bought old school buses - which can go for as little as $500 - and fixed them up (check at eBay for a varied selection). It's not a bad way to tour the country. (I used to drive a school bus in college for a year and a half.)
I do not understand anyone buying a house these days. The cost is astronomical. Let's say that my father built the family house in 1968 for $14,000 and he paid $149 a month for 30 years. Try that today.
The economy is not good and I do not believe it is going to get any better, contrary to the lies of the government. So you have to start making do on your own. Rural is not bad at all, but if you want to travel a bit, taking your house with you - like a turtle - is not such a bad idea.