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.
Some people have got around the astronomical cost of building utterly inefficient houses by building small ones in a rural area. I, for example, can build a decent-sized strawbale house for about $10,000. Even less, if I wanted to. I don't even have to draw the plans. They are in my head.
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. 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.