Rural Studio launched its aﬀordable-housing program in 2005, where we have been experimenting and prototyping a new locally-built rural home, known as “the 20K Home”. We were eager to make our work more relevant to the needs of west Alabama, the Southeast, and possibly the entire country. We looked at the omnipresent American trailer park, where homes, counterintuitively, depreciate each year they are occupied. We wanted to create a beautiful, small, and efficient home that would appreciate in value while accommodating residents who are unable to qualify for credit.
Our initial goal was to design a market-rate model home that could be built by a contractor for $20,000 ($12,000 for materials and $8,000 for labor and proﬁt). We have discovered that while we can easily predict the cost of materials: the cost of labor, utility installation and application for building permission by region, local municipality, community, and even neighborhood, can change drastically.
The “20K” represents a materials cost of less than $20,000.
In our current local market, the materials cost for each 20K Product Line Home: Dave’s, Mac’s, Joanne’s is approximately $14,000 – not including the cost of land, site work, utility hook-ups, appliances, or construction labor and profit to build the home.
We are currently working to move from 20K Project to 20K Product. While continuing to research the target clients and how to deliver the product to them, we are taking steps to move the projects out of the research area. This includes activities such as conducting complete architectural reviews, including code review and FHA compliance; discussions of the need, placement and method of completing model homes; and a branding and marketing plan.
For more information, contact Natalie Butts-Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org.