Skip to Content

44 Different Types of Houses (2022 List with Photos)

Our extensive research guide examines the many different types of building structures that are used for homes worldwide.

Collage of different types of houses

Table of Contents Show

Quicklist: Types of Houses

  1. Single-Family (detached)
  2. Condominium
  3. Apartment
  4. Co-op
  5. Townhome
  6. Bungalow
  7. Ranch 
  8. Cottage
  9. Cabin
  10. Chalet
  11. Multi-Family
  12. In-law Suite (aka basement suite)
  13. Barndominium
  14. Carriage/Coach House
  15. Tiny home
  16. Mobile Home
  17. Mansion
  18. Yurt
  19. Floating on Water Residence
  20. Tree House
  21. Castle
  22. Palace
  23. Chateau
  24. Villa
  25. Manor
  26. Fort
  27. Underground 
  28. Cave
  29. Container 
  30. Split-level
  31. Farmhouse
  32. Stack House
  33. “I” Type 
  34. Prairie
  35. Cape Cod

There are two ways to categorize the different types of houses. In other words, when people search for “types of houses,” some are looking for architectural styles, while others are looking for residential building structures that exist and are available.

For home architectural styles, go here.

For different residential building structures and homes, see below.

What’s the difference?

Architectural styles dictate the style in which a home is built. There are many different architectural styles, and these are typically based on some historic era or geographical location. Examples include the Cape Cod, Mediterranean, Mid-Century Modern, Georgian and Ranch styles.

Types of building structures more accurately reflects the meaning of the phrase “types of houses.” This definition includes single-family, condominium, townhome, bungalow, split-level, and castle homes, among others.

Since we have a dedicated article setting out the different architectural styles, this piece focuses on the different types of building structures that are typically used for homes.  We identify all the different types of houses with photographs and names.

Related: Unusual Homes | House and Floor Plans | Types of Lots | Types of House Foundations | Types of House Insurance 

A. Types of House Styles by Structure Type

Single-family (detached)

Seventy percent of Americans live in single-family homes. While it’s likely that that rate is not nearly as high in other countries, the single family detached residence is a very much sought-after type of home.

The single-family house is a kind of home that is not attached to another home in any way. It sits on its own property and stands completely separate from the other houses around it. Most detached single-family homes are located in suburbs throughout North America.

The single-family type of home exploded after World War II. During this time, a mass migration to the suburbs took place, as soldiers returned home and settled down into family life. Before WWII, only 13% of people lived in suburbs. By 2010, one-half of the US population called “surburbia” home.

As of 2010, most people seek to live in single-family homes, although with the baby boomer generation decreasing in size, demand for alternatives to single-family homes is rapidly growing. Some of these alternatives include condominiums (condos), apartments and townhomes.

Single family detached home photo example

Single-family detached home

Condominium

A condominium is one home among many that are housed within a building or series of buildings on a given piece of land. Each condominium owner has the title to the unit, meaning that they own the unit. A condominium building is governed by an elected body (Homeowners Association [HOA] in the United States, or Strata Council in Canada), which makes decisions on behalf of all unit owners and owns the communal areas and land where the condominium sits. This elected body makes decisions that pertain to maintenance, grounds, regulations and more.

  • Duplex:  A duplex condo refers to a two-story condo unit. This often results from the joining of two separate units and renovating them into one larger unit. However, some duplex condos are initially built as two-story homes.
  • Triplex:  This type of condo is the same as a duplex condo, but has three levels instead of two.

The terms “duplex” and “triplex” refer to the fact that these are two- or three-floor condos, as the terms are used in New York City. In other locations, the terms “duplex” and “triplex” refer to two and three unit buildings that stand side-by-side. Naturally, a fierce debate exists about the technical definitions, but in the current jargon, the terms are defined differently in different areas.

Some structures that appear to be townhouses (row-house design) are technically condos. This is due to the fact that the owners only own the unit, and not the shared space.

Condominium Building

Condominium Building

Apartment

An apartment is a group of housing units in one building, all owned by one entity. The units are then rented out to tenants. This is the key difference between a condo and an apartment. In a condo, individual entities (i.e. a person or corporation) own each unit, whereas with apartments, all the units in the building are owned by one entity.

Apartment building

Apartment building

Co-op

A co-op is similar in physical appearance and function as a condo or apartment, but the financial and legal arrangement is quite different. In a co-op, each entity or person who buys in to the co-op doesn’t own a particular unit; instead, they own a percentage of the building. Co-op owners are akin to shareholders of an entire property, and technically lease their unit from the co-op.

The advantage to a co-op over an apartment or condo boils down to the fact that the co-op association (the co-op members) can prevent a prospective buyer from buying into the building by rejecting their application. That said, a co-op association can only reject applications on financial basis and/or an unwillingness to follow the rules set out by the association. A condo HOA or strata cannot reject a prospective buyer if  they fit within its rules (i.e. age restrictions).

Co-op building

Co-op building

Townhome

Next up in this massive list of house types is the townhome. A townhome is similar to a row home in that it shares one or two walls with other homes. Townhomes are usually two or three stories tall, but some stand even taller. These homes are different from condos in that owners of a townhome own both the interior and exterior of the unit, and are therefore financially responsible for maintenance of the exterior as well as the interior. With condos, the exterior of the building is maintained by the regulatory body (the HOA or Strata Council).

A townhome is more like a single-family home, except for its attachment to another unit on either one or both sides.

Row of townhouses

Row of townhouses

See our collection of luxury townhomes here.

Bungalow

The word “bungalow” is derived from an Indian word for small houses, stemming from “Bengali house.” In fact, the bungalow was developed because the cottage-style house with thick walls didn’t work in India, with its warm climate.

Bungalows, including American Craftsman, are small, square single-story homes with front porches. The single floor is raised, with front steps leading up to the porch. Often, a single dormer window is built into the pitched roof of the attic. These types of homes began being built in the United States in the early twentieth century. Bungalows are found all over the USA nowadays. These days, bungalows aren’t as common, given the modern penchant for larger homes. Moreover, with computer-aided design, simple designs are no longer necessary to keep costs low.

Example of a bungalow style of house

Example of a bungalow style house

Ranch-Style

A ranch-style home (a.k.a. a rancher) is also a single-story home. However, a rancher has a larger, more rectangular footprint than a bungalow does. The ranch home dwelling is a derivative of the wide Spanish hacienda-style of home. Ranchers grew in popularity during the 1950s as huge tracts of land turned into suburbs, with larger plots than the typical urban plots. This type of house has plenty of open outdoor spaces, given that they require larger-than normal lots. Read our ranch vs. two-story houses comparison here.

Example of a ranch style home

Example of a ranch-style home

Cottage

We’d be remiss to not include “the cottage” in our home categories list.  The term cottage stems from a home commonly built in England. While in today’s parlance it refers to a small vacation home, historically, a cottage was a small home with a high thatched roof, thick walls, and a single interior room.

In an odd, ironic twist, some wealthy people refer to their vacation properties as “the cottage.” Use of this term downplays what is truly a luxurious vacation home. For example, sometimes the spectacular Newport, RI mansions built by the Robber Barons are referred to as “cottages,” though they in no way resemble the traditional English cottage.

Because there are several meanings for the term cottage, we’ve included three different photo examples of cottages:

Historic English Cottage

Historic English Cottage

 

Quaint small lakeside vacation cottage

Quaint small lakeside vacation cottage

 

Grand Newport, Rhode Island luxury cottage

Grand Newport, Rhode Island luxury cottage

Cabin

There is no real consensus regarding the differences between a cabin and a cottage. Although a cabin connotes a simple, rustic and minimalist aesthetic, a cottage, in the current usage of the word, does often refer to a more upscale vacation dwelling, though not historically.

Cabins are usually less finished than cottages. Cottages are painted and adorned, giving them a finished look. Additionally, cabins are almost always rural, whereas a cottage can be located in a rural or urban area. Some state assert a cabin, at least traditionally, is a log-built structure.  FYI, there are distinct types of cabins you can design and build.

Small wood cabin in the woods

Small wood cabin in the woods

Chalet

The word “chalet” finds its roots in the structures that traditionally housed sheep and goat herders in Switzerland. Today, the chalet is a vacation home, usually located in mountainous areas. Now that skiing is a globally popular sport, a chalet often refers to a vacation home with access to skiing.

However, a chalet, technically speaking, has certain design characteristics. These include a steep roof and long overhangs, designed for handling piles of snow.

Swiss chalet

Swiss chalet

Multi-family

A multi-family home is the “house name” to describe a residential structure that contains two or more housing units. It’s an umbrella term for a detached home with an in-law suite, or an apartment building, townhouse development, condo building, etc.

Multi-family housing

Multi-family housing

In-law suite (aka basement suite)

Most new homes include in-law suites, and many older homes have added them. This is because a 15-year real estate bubble has increased real estate prices so dramatically that many homeowners need to rent a portion of their home to others in order to afford their home payments.

An in-law suite is a separate unit built inside a single-family home. Often it’s located in the basement, but not always. An in-law suite is part of the single-family structure, as opposed to being a completely separate structure. A separate structure available for rent and/or guests would fall under different terminology, such as a carriage house or laneway house.

Basement suite

Basement suite

Barndominium

Red barndominium - big red barn turned living space

A barndominium is a barn that has been partially or fully converted into a living space. Check out the beautiful one we show above! Chip and Joanna Gaines built one (making the term famous despite the fact that these have been made for many years).

Read our “what is a barndominium?” guide here.

Carriage/Coach house

Carriage and coach houses are the same. Historically, these are structures on a property that were built to house horse-drawn carriages. Since then, many have been converted into separate living units that are rented out or are reserved for guests.

While humans no longer need such structures to house carriages, many new builds include such structures on a property. Carriage houses allow owners to generate additional revenue, or can be used as guest accommodations. The term carriage or coach house is still widely used, even if the building was never used as a such a structure.

Carriage house

Carriage house

Tiny home

A tiny home is an exceptionally small home that may be stationary or mobile. These homes range in size from 100 to 400 square feet. Tiny homes are incredibly efficient, both in design and layout. They are growing in popularity as people downsize and/or seek to live mortgage-free. Tiny homes cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on whether you built it yourself, it’s built for you, and the materials used to build it.

Tiny home interior

Tiny home interior

See our awesome collection of tiny houses here and our examples of tiny house floor plans here.

Mobile Home

A mobile home is a mobile structure that can be towed, but isn’t designed for frequent towing the way a recreational vehicle is. Mobile homes are built in factories, towed to a lot, and remain in place. These homes are inexpensive. Mobile home parks exist where the mobile home is owned by a person or family, but they rent the lot or pad where it sits. In other instances, people live in mobile homes on property they own.

Mobile home

Mobile home

Manufactured homes are also built off-site, and built on a steel frame with wheels. They are a more modern version of the mobile home. Here’s an example below:

Manufactured home

Manufactured home

Interesting: Read about the history of the mobile home here.

Mansion

A mansion is a large, imposing home (read our in-depth analysis on what a mansion is). Interestingly, there is no legal definition regarding how big a home must be in order to be called a mansion. Moreover, there isn’t consensus within the real estate industry, either.

In 1950 the average house size was a tad under 1,000 sq. ft. Today, the average house size is 2,500 sq. ft. That’s 250% growth in size for the average home in seventy years. Since the average home size is now 250% bigger than the average home of the 1950s, the size required for a home to be a mansion should be proportionate.

A mansion isn’t a size set in stone; instead it’s a term to distinguish a house from the average house — something huge and luxurious. See mega mansions here (20,000 square feet or more).

Historic mansion

Mill Neck Manor mansion in New York

Mill Neck Manor mansion in New York

Contemporary Mansion

Contemporary mansion

Contemporary mansion

McMansion

McMansion is a derogatory term for a poorly designed, large, new home. Usually these homes are built in large suburbs by a single developer. The individual homes are a mishmash of architectural styles and features that serve no purpose and end up looking silly or superfluous. The McMansion is not a technical name nor an official type of home, but it’s definitely become a common term in our parlance.

The best website that covers and explains McMansion, is McMansion Hell. Not only is the site funny, it’s quite informative. You’ll learn a lot about architecture via the ridicule of McMansions.

Example of a McMansion

Example of a McMansion

Yurt

The yurt is the primary housing structure used by the East Asian Mongol cultures. Mongols are a nomadic people. Since yurts can be packed up and moved easily, it’s an ideal type of home for a nomadic culture. Yurts vary in size from approximately 12 feet in diameter (115 square feet) to 30+ feet in diameter (706 square feet or more). They are relatively inexpensive to build.

A yurt is a round structure with a wall and roof made from waterproof fabric. While traditional yurts are fairly rustic, custom-built yurts built with pretty much all the amenities of a regular home are also available. While some in North America live in yurts year-around, other people keep them as vacation homes.

Yurt

Yurt

Floating on Water Residence (aka Floating Home or Houseboat, but there are differences)

There are important differences among the five types of floating on water residences. These types of homes are built differently from their landed counterparts, have various moorage arrangements, and are highly regulated in the cities where they are located. If you’re interested in such a home, it’s a good idea to engage a real estate agent who has extensive experience buying and selling such homes.

Floating homes in Vancouver, BC

Floating homes in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Tree house

Very few people choose to live in treehouses, but treehouse residences do exist. These are houses built in trees; some are quite large. Generally, they aren’t nailed into the trees where they’re located; their stilts and structure are built around the tree to elevate the home. Treehouses obviously look like fun houses to live in, and they’re definitely different.

See our collection of kids tree houses here.

Tree house family home

Tree house family home

Castle

One of the more atypical types of houses, a castle is a dream home for many people. There are many different types of castles. Castles were built from early the Middle Ages through the 19th century. Their primary purposes were to both house and defend their residents. Over the many hundreds of years that castles were built, their designs greatly evolved.

See all castle galleries and articles here.

Lowther Castle, England

Lowther Castle, England

Palace

While the term palace is often used in place of castle, a palace differs from a castle in that a palace’s primary function is as a residence only; they weren’t built to defend. Instead, palaces were luxurious structures that housed royalty and nobility, and often also housed government functions.

See more palaces here.

Alhambra Palace, Spain

Alhambra Palace, Spain

Chateau

A chateau is a French term that is used to describe a private palace of sorts. Chateaus are luxurious mansions that don’t serve any state purpose. They are purely private residences that are also extremely grand.

See more Chateaus here.

Chateau de Chenonceau

Chateau de Chenonceau, built over the river Cher in the Loire Valley, France.

Villa

A villa is the Italian version of a chateau.

Villa Hanbury, Italy

Villa Hanbury, Italy

Manor

A manor is the English version of a chateau.

Manor home in England

Manor home in England

Fort

A fort is a military structure built to defend and house military personnel and their families.

Fort Clatsup, Astoria, Oregon

Fort Clatsup, Astoria, Oregon

Underground House

While the term “bunker” refers to some form of bomb shelter or protective shelter, some people do live in underground houses.

Underground house

Underground house

Cave

Historically, people lived in caves. This choice was a no-brainer, given caves are pretty much turn-key, in a crude way. Caves were essentially created for humans and other animals to live in by nature. That said, while many cave houses were crude, some cultures created cities that were made with a series of cave homes.

Cave house interior

Cave house interior

 

Cave house exterior in Spain

Cave house exterior in Spain

Check out this example of a house built into a cave.

Container Home

A recent development in home construction and design is the use of existing containers as the main structure of a home. Small homes use one container, while larger homes use multiple containers. As you can see below, containers can be configured in a variety of different ways. Companies exist that specialize in designing and creating container homes.

Red container home (2 story)

See featured shipping container homes here.

Dome/Round Houses

Geodesic dome houses and roundhouses, while not terribly popular, are another unique type of home. In fact, round structures have been used in some cultures for thousands of years — think tipis, yurts, huts, fortress towers, etc.

Large geodesic dome house

Click here to see a collection of dome and round houses.

Hut

A simple hut near the beach and coconut trees.

One of the most basic homes that currently exist is a hut. This single room and story dwelling is made of local materials like sticks, dirt, and leaves. It is not meant to be a permanent shelter in most cases, just a place to get out of the sun. Huts are usually found on the beach areas because the materials needed to build them are nearby.

Even if a hut is built with sturdier materials for a permanent shelter, it will be just off the coast and in a circular shape. This is to allow the wind from storms, hurricanes, and typhoons to blow beyond the hut and minimize the amount of damage.

Huts can be as wide or as narrow as they need to be. These huts that are used for permanent homes are usually found in island areas like the Caribbean where the native populations live. 

Tower

Old Tower castle near the river.

One structure that is made of stone to withstand the height and design is the tower. These homes are built in areas where there is a need for less space on the ground and multiple stories are available. Towers are meant to give a level of protection so that you can see from all areas who or what is approaching.

Tower houses are most common in Western Europe, around Scotland and Ireland among other places. Historically, these homes belonged to families of distinction like Earls or Aristocrats in a community. Each floor is relatively small in a tower house, leaving a floor for dining, living area, etc.

Longhouse (mention both European and North American Indigenous)

Longhouse home for European and North American Indigenous.

There are two types of Longhouse designs found throughout the world. In Europe, the Longhouse is one dating back over several thousand years, where communities used these to house their entire families as they worked an area. In some of these longhouses, there were more than a dozen folks living there at one time.

This home would have an A-frame roof, but it was designed so that if additions were needed for other family members, it was possible.  The Iroquois longhouses did not have an A-frame like those in Europe but were more arbored.

The idea was still the same, being able to house a majority of the family members in the same place while working and cultivating the land nearby. As the Iroquois in North America decide to settle, the need for longhouses was more efficient. 

Courtyard

Another home style that is thousands of years old is the Courtyard model which is still adopted throughout the world today. For thousands of years, homes were made with a courtyard in the middle and main rooms surrounding it.

Today, there is a lot of variation of this traditional home, with many of the service rooms connecting to these areas. These homes were once large and parts of massive estates around the Jordan Valley. Today, an example of a courtyard home is Blenheim Palace. 

Stilt House

Stilt House on the mountain with pet dog and motorcycle.

When you travel to islands across the world, or riverbank communities, you may see stilt houses lining the properties. These homes are elevated, usually having the entire home lifted at least an entire story or more. These stilt homes are meant to protect the homes against flooding which is possible along beaches and banks everywhere.

These stilts are reinforced to maintain the weight of the home and distribute it properly so that the home is secure during a storm or rushing waters. In most cases, the area below is a place for outside storage, parking, or a lounge area with patio furniture. 

Villa

You’ve heard the term villa thrown around, but do you know where it comes from? Back in Ancient Rome, the higher society homes were known as villas. The architecture of these homes was defined lines, and they were large with many rooms. They would eventually house lots of villagers at once the Roman empire fell because they were central to many villages.

These large homes continued to be popular and gained single family status again in the 19th and 20th centuries when they were used to describe some of the mansions being built across Europe and North America. Today, California has many villas that are sprinkled throughout the San Fernando Valley. 

RV Home/Camper

RV Home/Camper near the sea and sunset.

In the last century, there has been a mobile trend, especially in North America, to pack up homes and make them mobile. Many folks have moved to RV homes and campers, staying in campgrounds and traveling year round. These RV homes and campers come in a variety of sizes, and depending on how many people are living in them, they can be really small or really large.

The smaller and more generic RV homes can be pulled by a standard pickup truck, and have a bed, living space, kitchen, and bath area inside the camper. There are some that are large enough to have multiple sleeping areas, and slides that pull out, and need to be hauled by trucks with fifth wheels. 

Tipi

Tipi tent used by the Native Americans.

There is another portable home that is actually much older than the RV and also has its roots in North America. The tipi is a dome-shaped home that can be removed and put together in a matter of minutes. There are multiple holes for entry and smoke flaps so that the tipi can air out.

For hundreds of years, Native Americans used these tipis as a way to survive traveling across the continent. They were easy to pack up and carry in their belongings. Today, camping tents are designed based on tipis and used for temporary lodging while camping. 

Linked House

One of the more recent home styles to come about in the 1970s is the linked house. These homes share a wall with another home, connecting them, although the link is not noticed. This housing style really took off in Canada, specifically in the Toronto area.

Today, there are still a majority of these homes and new construction has taken this model. These homes have a higher property value because of their connection to another home.

B. Most Common House Types By Region:

1. Urban Houses

Apartments

In a multi-story building, an apartment is a unit that shares the same wall as an adjacent unit. Each unit in the apartment building is rented out to a single renter by the building’s owner.

Co-ops

Residents in co-ops don’t own their units, but they do own a stake in the organization or cooperative which controls the structure and all of the residences in it, which is similar to an apartment or condo. 

Co-op buildings, which are managed by a board of directors, are well-maintained, but the board’s rigorous rules may not sit well with members who want greater control.

Townhomes

A townhouse is a single unit connected to a multi-unit development. Despite having a limited footprint than stand-alone or semi-detached houses, most townhouses offer greater square footage per dollar than condominiums.

Multi-family Residential

Individual dwelling units are found in low, mid, and high-rise buildings that are part of the multi-family residential category. This includes co-ops, condos, and apartment complexes, and is prevalent in urban areas.

2. Suburban Houses

Prairie

Flat or minimally sloped rooflines featuring drooping eaves are are common features of prairie-style homes, as are low-profile facades made of flat lines as well as planes. These homes are constructed with natural materials including wood, stucco, stone, and rustic brick for their siding.

Bungalow 

Bungalows make life easier for the owner because all of the living spaces are located on a single floor, with no need for stairways to connect them. People with limited movement, like seniors or those in wheelchairs, will find a cottage ideal.

Single-Family Detached 

It’s most people’s dream in a nutshell: seclusion, backyard space, as well as the ability to design your home as you see fit in a single-family home. Neighbors don’t have access to the land or any of the building’s mechanical, electrical, or plumbing elements.

Single-Family Semi-Detached

A semi-detached house is half of a pair of houses that are connected by a wall. A townhome or a condo may be more crowded and less private than a separate house, and it gives a greater sense of room and independence.

Split-level

Houses with many stories are called split-level because they are connected by a brief set of stairs. Most split-level homes have three levels: a primary floor, an upper floor (where the bedrooms are located) and a lower level (the den or garage).

3. Country Houses

Farmhouse

As the primary residence in a rural or agricultural context, the farmhouse is referred to as a residence. A housebarn, a combination of a farmhouse and a barn, was common in the past.

Stack House

One over one, or “one up, one down,” is another common name for a stack home, which is essentially an expansion of a single room. Entryways are usually located between two windows on the lower floor and two windows on the second story in a stack house’s typical layout.

“I” Type House

In rural locations, the “I” type house is mainly in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. The foundation of the house is one room broad, two stories high, and one room deep. Brick, wood, and stone are common building materials. The “I” house is an innovative and beautiful home.

One-Room House

Due to its structure, the one-room house can be constructed of logs or bricks. The house also has a chimney on the side. The one-room house, single pen house, basic cottage, and basic tidewater are just a few of the various names it goes by. The original site of the house was a Tennessee farm.

4. Houses in the Mountains

Multi-Level

In the mountains, you can practically build any form of house, based on the region. In many mountainous areas, multi-story homes are common. Building a home might be affected by the land’s incline and stability.

5. Beach, Lake and Waterfront Houses

Cottage

It is possible to build a cottage in any architectural style or housing design, so long as it’s small enough. Cottages can be defined in a variety of ways, but the most common meaning is a tiny, pleasant dwelling in the countryside, frequently used as a holiday or summer residence.

6. Warm Climate and Tropical Houses

Bungalow

Bungalows make life easier for the owner because the main living space is on a single level with no stairwells. People with limited movement, like seniors or those in wheelchairs, will find a cottage ideal.

7. Cold-Climate houses

Cape Cod

The chimney is a typical element in Cape Cod-style homes. Originally built in colonial America, Cape Cod-style homes have come to be recognized as a distinct class of residences distinguished by several distinctive architectural features.

Other Housing Arrangements:

Complexes: What Are They?

A complex, often known as a subdivision, is a collection of houses and other structures constructed as a single unit. Depending on where you live, the exact format may be different.

It’s not uncommon for these homes to be unattached or semi-detached, with little pieces of property creating gardens everywhere around them.

Cooperatives: What Are They?

A cooperative-owned real estate, which may include one or more housing structures is a kind of residence known as “housing cooperatives” or “housing co-ops.”

Numerous traits set housing cooperatives apart from other types of living arrangements.

Communities: What Are They?

A community comprises a social group that shares a commonality, like a familiar location, norms, faith, values, traditions, or identity, with other members. A rural, an urban, and a suburban community all fall under this broad category.

  • A rural community is one where homes are stretched out over a large area of land. In the minds of many, rural areas are synonymous with agriculture.
  • Cities are home to urban communities.
  • The suburbs are a mix of urban and rural areas.

Construction Method

Another type of house classification is the construction method. These days buyers have several options in how homes are built.

Site-built home:  Is a home that’s built on-site. Most homes are built this way.

Prefab home:  A prefab home is the general term referring to a home built in a factory. This type of home typically arrives in pieces that have been shipped to be assembled on-site. Some arrive with the interior and/or exterior completely finished, while others require finishing work on-site.

Modular home:  A modular home is a type of prefab home that’s built in a factory. The home is made of a series of modules, or pods, that are locked together to form the entire home once on-site.

Manufactured home:  A manufactured home is another that is built off-site in a factory on a steel frame. These homes are  transported in their entirety or in sections to a site. Manufactured homes are similar to mobile homes, but look more like a permanent home than the traditional mobile home does.

Panel home:  This is a home constructed of panels. The panels are built off-site and assembled on-site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the different types of houses.

How big is the average house in the USA?

From statistics gathered during the first quarter of 2019 by an NAHB analysis as well as from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design, the average single-family home has increased to around 2,584 square feet. The average size of a house is constantly changing over time. For example, in 1983 the average house in the USA was 1,725 square feet, and in 2003 the average was 2,330 square feet.

What are the different types of houses?

What defines a house has really branched out from what people traditionally considered to be a house. However, there are two defining ways of categorizing types of houses. Some define these by their different architectural styles, while others define them by the different types of residential building structures. Architectural style refers to the aesthetic style of a house, and types of residential building structures encompass whether a house was built as a single-family, a townhouse, etc.

To put it into perspective, types of houses by structure include the following:

  • Single-Family Detached House
  • Apartment
  • Bungalow
  • Cabin
  • Carriage/Coach House
  • Castle
  • Cave House
  • Chalet
  • Chateau
  • Condominium
  • Container Home
  • Co-Op
  • Cottage
  • Dome Houses
  • Fort
  • In-Law Suite (also called a Basement Suite)
  • Mansion
  • Manor
  • McMansion
  • Mobile Home
  • Multi-Family
  • Palace
  • Tiny Home
  • Townhome
  • TreeHouse
  • Ranch-Style
  • Underground House
  • Villa
  • Yurt
  • Floating Water Residences (Houseboats, etc.)
  • Hut
  • Tower
  • Longhouse
  • Courtyard
  • Stilt House
  • Villa
  • RV Home/Camper
  • Tipi
  • Linked House

Can houses be moved?

Houses can be moved, but it is not usually an easy or an inexpensive task. To move a house means one must lift the structure from the foundation to move it, sometimes many miles away, before setting the home down somewhere else. In extreme cases where a home is in danger of flooding or another impending natural disaster, in the way of development of highways or shopping centers, or simply because it is no longer wanted on the land, houses may be moved from one location to another.

Can houses sink?

If a house is built on poor soil or somewhere in which copious amounts of water can weaken the foundation, houses can indeed sink. Homeowners don’t have any way of controlling the soil beneath their home, but they can deflect water away from the foundation as much as possible to prevent this from happening.

Can houses be financed? If so, how?

If you do not have the cash in hand to purchase a house, they can be financed by way of a mortgage. Mortgages are secured loans handled between the home purchaser and a financial institution (usually a bank or credit union) which loans the money to purchase a house to the buyer. Once the price range has been decided, one must apply for a mortgage. However, it is best to have a credit score of over 600 before trying to apply for a mortgage, and to only borrow what is necessary to prevent paying back more than what is affordable.

What materials are houses built from?

Homes can be constructed from a list of materials. Some of the most common ones are wood, brick, concrete, cement and mortar, and clay. Many houses are also now constructed with steel frames that are reinforced with bolts and rivets.

Can houses get hit by lightning?

Houses can be struck by lightning, with the roof taking a major hit, sometimes sending a charge of electricity through any electrical devices and even metal piping within the house. Lightning is attracted to anything metal, electrical, and sometimes even window frames and gutters. Occupants inside a home can be affected by lightning if they are in contact with an electrical device or plumbing.

Can houses lose value?

A house can deteriorate in value because of a few different factors. This includes physical damage and/or neglect, the neighborhood where the house stands, the risk a homeowner could take buying that house, and the economic climate.

Can houses withstand an earthquake?

Because every house is unique, withstanding an earthquake depends on the time in which a home was built, the materials it is made from, and the structure of the house. Most houses built after 1958 are more secure than older homes due to increased anchoring and bolting, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. The most likely houses to withstand an earthquake are those with a concrete foundation. However, older houses without concrete foundations can have braces, such as new beams and bolts, installed underneath the house to better anchor it to the ground.

Who appraises houses?

Houses are appraised by licensed, highly-trained professionals who know what to look for during the appraisal process. Many appraisers train and spend years on the job. They are continuously educated on the ever-changing housing market. It is the appraiser’s job to fairly and objectively determine the value of a house without any sort of bias as to where the property is located. Appraisers have to prove that anything in or outside of the house that they find could affect its value. Appraisers and the appraisal process are heavily monitored.

Can squirrels climb houses?

Squirrels have an incredible knack for being able to climb just about anything, and this definitely includes homes. They can scale chimneys and walls headfirst and are motivated to do this because they absolutely love to live within walls, ceilings and attics.

Can raccoons climb houses?

Like squirrels, raccoons are amazing climbers, and there aren’t many places that they won’t try to go to find food or shelter. This said, raccoons can climb up the corners of a house with ease and make good use of any gutters and downspouts they can find. Raccoons are capable of causing a lot of damage when they do this, so it’s best to be aware of them.

Can possums climb houses?

Possums can climb quite well and will climb a house, and even if they cannot scale a structure they can climb a tree to get up onto and into that structure if they can find an opening large enough to get in through.

Can tornadoes lift houses?

Brick and concrete homes are a bit more stable when facing the dangerous winds of a tornado. However, tornadoes of certain categories certainly have the power to lift any house from its foundation and send it spiraling, sometimes miles away. Mobile homes are especially prone to this, since more often than not mobile homes do not have a permanent foundation. Even if a tornado doesn’t lift a house, it can cause a lot of damage to it, and even possibly level the house to the ground.

How many houses are in the world?

There are an estimated 2.3 billion houses in the world that offer shelter to nearly eight billion people. These estimates are based on census figures retrieved from around the globe over the past two decades.

How long do houses last? How long do wooden houses last?

Most residential buildings or houses are built to last (meaning their vital components and systems are designed with a useful life) from 70 to 100 years.

Maintenance is the most significant factor influencing the lifespan of a home. Wood homes properly constructed and maintained can last more than 100 years.

Why do houses have basements? 

While basements are now used as entertainment areas, basements were initially designed for storage purposes. Before modern conveniences, people would use basements to store wine, water, and even food — mostly because it was below grade and, therefore, cooler year-round.

Why do houses have gutters?

Rain gutters are more than decorative additions to a home — they are an important functional component. A gutter on a home is used to direct rainwater from the house, siding, and foundation. Gutters, therefore, prevent mold, mildew, and other costly water damage.

Why do houses have crawl spaces?

Crawl spaces, which are small areas beneath a home, were typically built as a buffer between that existed between a home (and its occupants) and the damp earth. Crawl spaces can be used as storage and are often where air-conditioning, utility, and heating conduits and lines run — out of sight.

Why do houses have attics?

Attics are the space that exists between the ceiling on the home’s highest floor and roof. An attic can be used for storage, insulation, or the equipment used to heat or cool the home. Some attics can be converted to dormer rooms.

What size house is considered a mansion?

A mansion, which symbolizes elegance and luxury, is defined as a home with at least 5,000 square feet and a minimum of five or six bedrooms. Mansions typically sit on smaller lots because mansions that are situated on larger properties are known as estates. 

Why do houses make noise?

A house is known to make creaky noises for a number of reasons. It may happen from changes in air temperature or thermal contraction/expansion — both cause wood, metal, and other construction materials structure to creak when expanding or contracting.

Why do houses go to auction?

There are a few reasons why homes are sold at auction. The two common reasons that a home will be sold through an auction include unpaid real estate taxes or a foreclosure action triggered by a borrower’s non-payment.  

How are houses numbered?

House numbers will vary by location, often changing within cities and towns. However, homes in the same neighborhood are generally numbered consistently. In some of the world’s more remote areas of the world, houses are named rather than numbered.  

Can brick houses be painted?

Yes. Bricks can be painted. Many people paint brick because it is porous when unpainted. Its porous nature allows for debris and dirt to collect, which is hard to remove and keep clean. Painted bricks create smooth surfaces, which can be power washed occasionally. Painting bricks help reduce the fading of the bricks as well as slow the deterioration of the exterior of the house.

Can I build two houses on only one lot?

The answer is a definite maybe. The legality of building two houses on one lot will depend on the zoning requirements established by the authorities in the district in which the home is located. Consult with an expert or real estate attorney in the area to determine the answer for your specific location.

Pinterest Version

If you’d like to pin something from this page, we welcome you to do so. If you’d like to pin our popular collage of different types of houses by structure, see the full graphic below.

Types of houses infographic collage.