There is no estimate of what the same house would cost to build today. I believe the article quotes $25,000, but the house is @ 20 years old.
There is an interesting disparity on this sort of thing. For any of us reading this, it would be a matter of time and money to attain such a practical, yet whimsical house. There would also be the question of local building codes, appropriate appearance etc. So, leaving the middle class aside, I suppose the next place to encounter this kind of building would be in third world areas, either as a traditional form or introduced by help organization workers.
and I have to include a link to this one, because this couple were absolutely amazing, doing almost everything to restore a huge bare shell by themselves - at an age when anyone else would be looking to take life easy:
Well, bixa, the man who built the forest house entirely out of wood and straw did so with his own (he's a professional woodsman) and friends' volunteer labour, for very little indeed as a result. What's more, he did so knowing he only had permission from the authorities to have the house there for 25 years, and that he wouldn't be able to sell it. But in the process he went from living almost like a tramp to having a warm, weatherproofed and fully-serviced house - and acquiring a wife and child in the process. It was a very moving programme.
That is encouraging, Patrick, and it would be great to see more versions of his story. On the link in the OP, there is the same feeling of can-do spirit ................. until one hits the detail of his having 60 tons of limestone boulders delivered. Right there, the difference between someone who can pick up the phone and get what he needs when he needs it, and someone who'd be scrabbling to pay for plumbing supplies, say, hits you in the face.
I'm not being argumentative, but the difference between someone with the skills of a professional woodsman and almost any lower-waged or retired urban dweller are vast. There is also the question of land upon which to put a house.
Just now I tried to find information on the Brad Pitt project in New Orleans. While I applaud the logic behind the project -- get people back onto their own land, which will rebuild neighborhoods -- I question the $150,000 minimum cost to do so. For many people, that might as well be 150 million. And where has the project gone? All I could find were outdated online articles that mostly focus on Pitt as a movie star.
The dramatic slump in house prices in the US points out that everything simply cost too much. And so much of that cost was a result of marketing tactics and middlemen, but people had bought into the whole "value" vocabulary of that. People with jobs and borrowing power were able to get the loans in order to live in pleasant suburbs fairly near where they worked.
But what about all the people everywhere who huddle in rental blocks with no green spaces, inadequate space for kids to play, little chance of building neighborhood spirit? When will attention be turned to un-imploding urban areas by making it attainable and desirable for lower paid working people to help create new sustainable communities in the countryside? Those workers can't even think about moving unless there is a way for them to make a living. New communities might provide more job opportunities for those workers and the presently unemployed. But this is all a pipe dream unless there are ways for people to affordably house themselves.